The older I get the faster life seems to fly by, including ProMusica’s 31st concert season. It seems like we just got started by making music with the remarkable young pianist Tiffany Poon in October and here we are preparing for our April subscription weekend. What a great season it has been to date. We do have one more remarkable subscription program planned for you.
Our two concerts feature one of the most remarkable works of art of all time, one of the truly greatest conceptions of the human mind, heart and spirit – Beethoven astonishing Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”).
Art is an expression of the time and place in which it was created, and this work (as much as any other in history) is certainly tied to the era of the French Revolution and the composers changing feelings toward Napoleon Bonaparte. The work is also tied to the change in the musical aesthetic from the Classic Era to the Romantic Era. The heroic ideas portrayed in the music reflect not only changes in philosophy but also changes in people – including in the composer, as he was dealing with his own “imperfections” (i.e., his deafness.)
Please be sure to read Steven Ledbetter’s complete program notes regarding this amazing work – in the program book when you attend the concert or by clicking here.
Please also check out the websites regarding our weekend’s special guest artist, ‘cellist Joshua Roman.
Dubbed a “Classical Rock Star” by the press, cellist Joshua Roman has earned a national reputation for performing a wide range of repertoire with an absolute commitment to communicating the essence of the music at its most organic level. In February he made his debut as soloist with San Francisco Symphony playing Haydn’s glorious Cello Concerto in C major, the work that he will perform with us. This is what the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about his performance:
Joseph Haydn, generally a composer of unpredictable and complex moods, put on his sunniest demeanor in Davies Symphony Hall on Thursday afternoon, as Herbert Blomstedt led the San Francisco Symphony in an enjoyable but sometimes frustrating account of his Cello Concerto No. 1.
The soloist was Joshua Roman, a cellist of extraordinary technical and musical gifts. His Symphony debut, in fact, was so striking in so many ways that it left a listener eager for something more.
Roman, who was appointed principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony at 22 and left two years later to pursue a solo career, coaxes sounds of remarkable beauty from his instrument. The expansive four-note chord that opens the solo part of the concerto instantly set a tone of warmth and vigor, and throughout the first movement, Roman deployed a light touch to produce a graceful, elegant melodic strain.
His technical command was equally impressive, especially in the virtuosic finale. It's rare to hear a cellist tear through this high-flying passagework so beautifully and precisely - with never a note out of tune or out of place - and rarer still to hear it done with such offhanded panache.
If one concert is not enough for you, plan to also join us for our final Artistic Circle of the season on Friday evening, April 9th. An avid chamber musician, Joshua will serenade you. Good food and drink will also be shared, as will good company and conversation.
Part of the conversation will center on why Joshua Roman is playing with us at all, as the originally scheduled guest artist was to have been trumpeter Sergei Nakariakov. The short answer is that Sergei was not granted the necessary Visa to enter the U.S. for these concerts. That seems to just be part of the way of the world in which we live today.
With all of the world’s challenges, I remain confident that our country will continue to be a wonderful place because of the talent and good spirit of many of our community’s finest young people. On Saturday evening, as we have the past two seasons, the strings of ProMusica will be joined by two dozen high school musicians to open the concert. These gifted young instrumentalists are partners in our organization’s wonderful Musicians in the Schools program. As a part of a major musical event, we are proud to be able to showcase their talents in collaboration with our stellar group. This year’s “side-by side” composition is by Norman Dello Joio. Choreography, Three Dances for String Orchestra, was commissioned by and dedicated to the American String teachers Association in 1971 on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
Dello Joio lived a long life of 95 years and was most productive. Sensitive and imaginative, he composed in practically all forms, receiving a Pulitzer Prize as well as the 1965 Emmy Award for his music that was used in the NBC television series “Scenes from the Louvre.” You can read more about him on his publisher’s website:
As you can see, this coming week promises to be full of excitement. This is the essence of the ProMusica experience – great music shared with good friends. Let ProMusica enrich your life. Share ProMusica with your friends. “Put a little orchestra in your life.”
See you soon!
P.S. Make sure to purchase your Gala tickets for Friday, May 7th!! Acclaimed jazz singer Jane Moinheit promises to deliver a series of her memorable signature performances.