This weekend, Saturday, March 28, 8pm & Sunday, March 29, 2pm,Symphony of the Redwoods presents Allan Pollack conducting the Spring Concert. The program begins with the Hebrides Overture by Felix Mendelssohn, followed by Grieg’s Piano Concerto featuring James D’León, then Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
The Hebrides Overture isn’t an overture in the sense of an introductory piece for an opera. Instead, it is a standalone piece which conjures the grand and astonishing scenery of Staffa Island in the Scottish Inner Hebrides and the mysterious environs of Fingal’s Cave. If the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind ever needed another place to land besides Devil’s Tower, Staffa is a good alternative. Both sites are massive and ancient lava intrusions worn down to their most striking remnants. The young Mendelssohn was just as entranced by the beauty of the island and the cave as modern day visitors, sending snippets and musical phrases he would later use back to his sister on a postcard.
It would be difficult to be a part of the cultural milieu of the Western world and not have heard at least parts of Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The beginning flourish, certainly inspired by Schumann’s Piano Concerto in the same key of A minor, is unmistakable and has been used as background in dozens of movies, cartoons, documentaries and plays. Our soloist James D’León, who debuted at the age of fourteen with the Philadelphia Orchestra playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, brings his own exquisite and engaging artistry to this moving piece.
Tchaikovsky had long been derisive of the “specialists” who wrote music for ballet during the 19th century; however, when he began to study the genre, in preparation to write Swan Lake, his opinion changed entirely. He was fascinated by the rhythmically complex and catchy melodies characteristic of ballets of the period. The story of a princess turned into a swan is undoubtedly from Russian folk tales, but its precise origin is obscured by the many variants of similar tales which are typical of an oral tradition. When I hear this music, I see ballerinas in white tulle, even when I’m simply listening to an orchestra. So evocative.
The Redwood Coast Senior Center will be serving a delicious, Mexican-themed, pre-concert dinner on Saturday evening. Salvador is an excellent chef and the meals, with wine or beer included, are most reasonably priced. A great way to make a complete outing of the Spring Concert. The senior center is taking reservations at 961.4300.
Visit SymphonyoftheRedwoods.org for more information and snippets of music from the concert!
You won’t want to miss this concert full of hummable music. Please join us Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon.
We look forward to seeing you there!
May your lives be filled with light, love, laughter and music!