La Jolla, Calif. (January 19, 2017) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents the third concert of its 62nd season, a program of extremes -- from the singular focus of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto to the post-modern pastiche of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia. Music Director Steven Schick conducts the orchestra and guest artists, violinist David Bowlin and vocal octet Kallisti, in a concert that begins with Gioachino Rossini’s overture to the Barber of Seville.
Rossini’s Barber of Seville was an audience favorite from its premiere in Rome on February 20, 1816. Full of witty music and comic intrigue, one of the most popular parts of the opera has always been its overture, which sets the mood for the fun to follow. Along the way are several of the lengthy crescendos that were a virtual trademark of Rossini, and one of these drives this sparkling overture home in a blast of energy.
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (premiered December 23, 1806) is one of the composer’s most regal works, full of majesty and relaxed nobility. Though Beethoven is not normally thought of as a melodist, in this concerto he makes full use of the violin’s lyric capabilities. Beethoven did not write a violin cadenza for his concerto, leaving the composition of the virtuoso solo passages to others. But in 1807, he was commissioned to write a piano version of the concerto, in which he included spectacular cadenzas for piano. In the 1950s violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan, for years concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic, reversed the process again, taking Beethoven’s brilliant cadenzas for piano and arranging them for violin. Soloist David Bowlin, a faculty member at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, will perform Schneiderhan’s rarely-heard arrangement, complete with the fiery duet between soloist and timpanis in the first movement and brilliant outburst in the finale.
In 1969, the 44-year-old Luciano Berio confronted the imposing heritage of Beethoven and Mahler and composed his Sinfonia. The work was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its 125th anniversary. The year was 1968 -- a violent and turbulent time with Vietnam War protests at their most intense, the assassinations of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago. As the times seemed to challenge the established order, Berio consciously re-thought classical form. He turned to both the past and the present for his sources and made Sinfonia the vehicle by which he could simultaneously evoke and question the ideas and symphonic tradition of Western civilization. Using the full resources of a large modern symphony orchestra, Berio added an important role for eight amplified vocal soloists, performed here by the UC San Diego vocal octet, Kallisti.
The performances take place February 11-12, 2017 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 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.