La Jolla, Calif. October 11, 2016) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents the opening concert of its 62nd season, showcasing music of composers written during the rich midpoint of their careers. Music Director Steven Schick conducts Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 5 in a program that includes Alexander Scriabin’s Le Poème de l’extase (Poem of Ecstasy) and two newer works: Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Aeriality and Bryce Dessner’s Lachrymae.
“The season’s theme is inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Dante writes of a precarious moment in the middle of life (nel mezzo del cammin), where risks are high and outcomes uncertain,” says Schick. “We tell the same story in our 2016-17 season, titled ‘Music from the Middle of Life,’ and examine, in musical terms, the risks and rewards of a mid-life pivot.”
Lachrymae, written in 2012, was commissioned by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Scottish Ensemble, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and premiered in 2012 at the Holland Festival. Written for string orchestra, it is “music that sounds immediately and arrestingly different, taking off with distorted noises from the cello that captivate with their dissonance.” Ohio-born Dessner, considered a vital force in the flourishing realm of new creative music, was one of three composers tapped to score the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film, The Revenant. He has had works commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, and many others.
Aeriality is a work for a large instrumental force, consisting of vast sound-textures combined with various forms of lyrical material. The piece was commissioned by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and premiered in Reykjavik in 2011. The title refers to the state of gliding through the air with nothing or little to hold on toas if flyingand the music both portrays the feeling of absolute freedom gained from the lack of attachment and the feeling of unease generated by the same circumstances. Thorvaldsdottir, an Iceland native, is a recipient of the New York Philharmonic's prestigious Kravis Emerging Composer Award (2105). She holds a Ph.D. from UC San Diego.
Scriabin composed the Poem of Ecstasy as a symphony, but it is more of a tone poem, about 20 minutes long, that mirrors the progress of a soul from uncertainty to fulfillment. Written between 1905 and 1908, and premiered December 10, 1908 by the Russian Symphony Orchestra, Poem of Ecstasy is written for a large orchestra that includes 8 horns, 5 trumpets, 2 harps and a vast percussion section. Scriabin believed that in some senses his music was always straining toward the light, and the conclusion, which is both majestic and flying, demonstrates this perfectly.
The first four notes of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 are the most famous in classical music, and this symphony is certainly the most famous symphony ever written. Composed in 1804-1807, the first performance took place on December 22, 1808. No matter how familiar this symphony is, the music remains extraordinary. Heard for itself, free of the cultural baggage it has acquired over the years, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is as original and powerful and furious today as it was when it burst upon an unsuspecting audience two centuries ago.
The performances take place October 29-30, 2016 in Mandeville Auditorium at UC San Diego. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Individual tickets are $29 general, $27 senior, and $15 student. Group discounts are available. Parking is free. A 30-minute, pre-concert lecture by Steven Schick is offered one hour prior to concert times. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the LJS&C office at (858) 534-4637.
The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, San Diego’s oldest and largest community orchestra and chorus, is a non-profit musical performing group dedicated to inspiring San Diego with the joy of music. Its 90-person orchestra and 100-person chorus perform groundbreaking orchestral and choral music along with traditional favorites from the classical repertoire. During the 62nd season, maestro Steven Schick shares the podium with David Chase, LJS&C choral director, in his final season, and guest conductor Michael Gerdes, performing works by Barber, Berlioz, Schoenberg, Nielsen, Verdi, Beethoven, Berio, Stravinsky, and more.