La Jolla, Calif. (May 15, 2012) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents its final concert of the 57th season -- Stravinsky Circus! -- with Music Director Steven Schick leading the orchestra in a program celebrating Stravinsky’s most popular work, The Firebird. The concert opens with the world premiere of Igor Korneitchouk’s Tintinnabulation and also includes Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto, with guest soloist Aleck Karis.
The title of Igor Korneitchouk’s Tintinnabulation, meaning the frenzied ringing of bells, comes from Edgar Allen Poe's poem “The Bells.” The San Diego-based composer and professor of music at Mesa College uses no singers for the text. Rather, instruments convey the vibrant colors of Poe's words. He evokes the different sorts of bells from the poem – such as the silver bells of sleighs, bronze bells signaling an alarm, funereal iron bells – frequently juxtaposing and interchanging them in a bi-partite fantasy. Tintinnabulation is a 2012 reworking of an earlier Korneitchouk score, From the Bells…, written in the 1980s for brass and percussion octet. When La Jolla Symphony conductor Steven Schick, a celebrated percussionist, requested an overture-like work to open the concert, the choice seemed apt. By the composer's own account, the revised work is almost a percussion concerto.
American master composer Samuel Barber wrote his only Piano Concerto in 1962 at the request of his publisher, the G. Schirmer Company, who wanted a big work in commemoration of its hundredth anniversary. Barber’s work on the concerto spanned two years. The last movement was not completed until 15 days before its premiere on September 24, 1962, as part of the inaugural week of activities at the Lincoln Center in New York. The piece, showcasing the pianist’s virtuosity with a dramatic piano part and heavy brass in the third movement, received great critical acclaim, leading Barber to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1963.
The commission for The Firebird ballet came to Igor Stravinsky at almost the last minute, when another composer who had been previously contracted for the job for the Ballets Russes, Anatoly Liadov, failed to complete his obligation. The dance company’s impresario, Sergei Diaghilev, needed a replacement immediately, and his choice fell upon Stravinsky, at that time still only twenty-seven and a virtual unknown. The story is based on Russian folk tales of the magical firebird who frees Prince Ivan from Kashchei the Immortal. The ballet, premiered in 1910, was one of the first of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to have a completely original score composed for it. Stravinsky himself was in attendance at the first performance, as were Claude Debussy, Sarah Bernhardt, and other artistic luminaries. Very favorably received, it was the first major performance of a Stravinsky work outside of Russia and marked the beginning of Stravinsky’s collaboration with Diaghilev, a duo that would later produce Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. In the years after the premiere, Stravinsky prepared a sequence of orchestral suites from the ballet, so that orchestras could perform the music without dancers. The first orchestral suite came in 1911, one year after the ballet itself. The second was in 1919; a third followed in 1945. Those latter two versions were for smaller orchestral forces than the original. For this performance, the La Jolla Symphony will be including two sections that the composer himself omitted from the 1919 suite: the Berceuse (Lullaby) and the highly dramatic Finale.The performances take place June 9-10, 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 57th season, Music Director Steven Schick shares the podium with David Chase, performing works by Stravinsky, Brahms, Bartok, Verdi, Ligeti, Lang, Adams, and more.