La Jolla, Calif. (April 9, 2014) — La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents its fifth program of the season on May 3-4 with three works from among the most popular orchestra and choral repertoire written in the last century. Steven Schick and David Chase conduct the orchestra and chorus, with guest artist and LJS&C 2012 Young Artist Winner Chika Inoue, saxophone, in a program that begins with Heitor Villa-Lobos’ saucy Fantasia for Soprano Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra, followed by two works about war and peace: Sergei Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony and Leonard Bernstein’s ebullient Chichester Psalms.
Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos is considered one of the most creative composers of 20th century Brazilian music. His dance-driven saxophone concerto premiered in 1951 in Rio de Janeiro and quickly became popular. It is composed in three brief movements, with the saxophone accompanied by an unusual orchestra made up of a string section and three horns. The Fantasia takes its character from the virtuosity of the solo part, and it is infused with Latin American flavor. Saxophonist Chika Inoue, a native of Osaka, Japan, spent most of her youth in both Frankfort, Germany, and in San Diego. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at USC’s Thornton School of Music under Los Angeles Philharmonic saxophonist Douglas Masek.
Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms was commissioned by the Dean of the Cathedral of Chichester, the Very Reverend Walter Hussey, to be performed at a music festival during the summer of 1965 with the combined choruses of Chichester, Winchester, and Salisbury Cathedrals. The work is a setting of three complete psalms and parts of others. The score is full of Bernstein’s musical trademarks: romantic melodies, jazzy and bouncy rhythms, varied percussion, and brilliant brass. Not surprisingly, Chichester Psalms remains one of Bernstein’s finest – and most frequently performed – scores.
Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony, premiered on January 13, 1945 in Moscow, was heard for the first time with a prelude of artillery thunder, as a nearby garrison fired a barrage of artillery in celebration of news that the end of WWII was near and victory assured. The symphony not only made an impression on audiences that night in Moscow, but around the world as it was performed in the following months. It remains today one of the most frequently performed 20th century symphonies. The symphony’s themes are simple, even sing-able, and its orchestration masterful. The ending is particularly effective. With the music racing along, Prokofiev suddenly reduces forces to a handful of players and for a few moments this mighty symphony becomes chamber music. Then, in the last seconds, the entire orchestra leaps back into action, bringing the Fifth Symphony to its exultant close.
The performances take place May 3-4, 2014 in Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. A pre-concert lecture is offered one hour prior to concert times. Individual tickets are $29 general, $27 senior (65+), and $15 student. Group discounts are available. Parking is free. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the LJS&C office at (858) 534-4637.
The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus is San Diego’s oldest and largest community orchestra and chorus. In six concert pairs each season performed on the UC San Diego campus, the ensemble combines classics from the traditional repertoire with a unique blend of premieres, commissions and performances of rarely-heard, often monumental works. Under the leadership of Music Director Steven Schick, LJS&C has been critically acclaimed as offering the most daring orchestral programs in the country. He is joined during the concert season by colleague David Chase who is beginning his 40th year as LJS&C Choral Director.