“Tchaikovsky’s first true masterpiece”: Romeo and Juliet
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s first musical rendering of a Shakespeare play, the fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet, was a milestone in the young composer’s career; his spot-on musical portrayals of the young lovers’ passion against the background of their families’ seething mutual hatred was immediately recognized as the masterpiece it is. In our concert’s first half, the radiant soprano Allison Pohl will take the stage for a bouquet of romantic songs by Richard Strauss. Two masterly explorations of classical forms will launch this wide-ranging program: Bach’s “Little” Fugue in g, and the haunting Passacaglia of Ljubica Marić (considered the most important of 20th century Serbian composers). Other compositions will be announced from the stage at this special concert.
J.S. BACH | “Little” Fugue in g, BWV 578 (orch. Caillet)
MARIĆ | Passacaglia (U. S. premiere)
R. STRAUSS | Six Songs
Soloist | Allison Pohl, Soprano
TCHAIKOVSKY | Romeo and Juliet
"Serene cheer and warm sunshine”: Brahms’ Second
To continue this significant season in the Philharmonic’s history, the orchestra will perform Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, the sunniest of its composer’s four symphonies and a perennial audience favorite. Adding to the luster of the program is the local debut of eminent violinist Joanna Kurkowicz, the leading exponent of the violin music of Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969), whose Violin Concerto No. 4 will round out the season’s lineup of U. S. premieres. The program opens with the Northwest premiere of Margaret Bonds’ Montgomery Variations, written in tribute to the march for equal voting rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965.
The Philharmonic presents a special summer concert with an emphasis on works with an established popular appeal. Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, classical music’s most widely-known evocation of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, shares the bill with another Russian blockbuster, Prokofiev’s alternately bold and lyrical Piano Concerto No. 1, performed by one of our major local artists, pianist Anastasia Solomatina. The 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams will be celebrated via his jaunty English Folksong Suite. Finally, in the best “pops” tradition, the orchestra will play a handful of works by America’s leading composer of “light” works, Leroy Anderson.