La Jolla, Calif. (February 28, 2012) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) performs Beethoven, Mozart and two works by Stravinsky on March 17-18 in its fourth concert of the Stravinsky Circus! season. Music Director Steven Schick leads the orchestra in this concise and evocative program with the idea of classicism as its recurring theme. The program begins with the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, composed by the greatest classicist of them all – Mozart. Next is Stravinsky’s most classical work, his Symphony in C, modeled after Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C Major. Beethoven’s first symphony concludes our program. In between we hear the influence of 20th-century popular culture in Stravinsky’s jazz-infused Ebony Concerto, written for clarinet soloist and Woody Herman’s jazz orchestra. Curt Miller is soloist.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comic opera, The Marriage of Figaro, was composed in 1786 and based on a play that satirized the aristocracy. From the first instant, when this music stirs to life, to its sudden explosions of energy, the overture delights all who hear it, and it is often played as a concert opener.
Igor Stravinsky composed Symphony in C between 1938 and 1940. It was a turbulent period in Stravinsky’s life, with illness and death in his immediate family. Stravinsky had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, and he lost his wife, daughter, and mother to illness in 1938 and 1939. The first two movements of his symphony were written in France and Switzerland, before the political climate in Europe forced Stravinsky to emigrate to the U.S. in 1940, where he completed the third and fourth movements. Stravinsky distinguished between the European and the American movements, particularly in differences to rhythmic character. Whereas the first two movements exhibit the influences of Beethoven and Haydn, Stravinsky said that the last two movements would not have occurred to him “before I had known the neon glitter of the California boulevards from a speeding automobile.”
Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto was composed shortly after the end of World War II and is representative of his neo-classical period. Written for the Woody Herman jazz orchestra, Stravinsky described this work as “a jazz concerto grosso with a blues slow movement.” The Concerto features a clarinet solo, performed in this concert by Curt Miller. Miller is a sought-after collaborator in the exploration of the clarinet and the performance and development of new chamber music. A member of the San Diego New Music Collective, he currently studies clarinet at UCSD with Anthony Burr, and is a 2011 LJS&C Young Artists Winner.
It seems fitting that Ludwig van Beethoven – whose symphonies changed the conception of the genre – composed his first symphony at the dawn of a new century. The symphony was composed in 1799-1800 and premiered in Vienna in April 1800, when Beethoven was 29. This work shows direct homage to Beethoven’s predecessors, his teacher Joseph Haydn and, of course, Mozart; however, its character is distinctly Beethoven and its premiere was greeted as a “masterpiece” and praised for its originality. Beethoven’s orchestral legacy cast a long shadow that composers dealt with in various ways throughout the remainder of the 19th century and beyond. When Stravinsky wrote his Symphony in C, a copy of Beethoven’s First Symphony was on his desk.
The performances take place March 17–18, 2012 in Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Individual tickets are $29 general, $26 senior, and $15 student. Group discounts are available. Parking is free. A pre-concert lecture 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 110-person orchestra and 130-person chorus perform groundbreaking orchestral and choral music along with traditional favorites from the classical repertoire. During the 2011-2012 season, music director and conductor Steven Schick and choral director David Chase lead works by Stravinsky, Britten, Beethoven, Mozart, and more.