La Jolla, Calif. (January 18, 2012) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents its third concert of the 57th season with music director Steven Schick leading the orchestra and guest soloists in a program of stark and very beautiful drama: Verdi’s overture to La Forza del Destino, Nicholas Deyoe’s still getting rid of (2011-2012 Thomas Nee Commission), John Adams’ The Wound Dresser, and Brahm’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor.
Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny), was based on a Spanish drama, Don lvaro o la fuerza del sino (1835), by Ángel de Saavedra, Duke of Rivas. The story is a classic one of love and bloody revenge featuring a young nobleman who has fallen in love with a woman whose father prohibits her from marrying him. The opera was first performed in St. Petersburg in 1862. The overture is part of the standard orchestral repertoire and a favored concert opener.
Thomas Nee Commission recipient Nicholas Deyoe is a composer, conductor, and guitarist born in Colorado. He is a Ph.D. candidate in music composition at UCSD, studying with Roger Reynolds, and serves as assistant conductor of the La Jolla Symphony. Deyoe strives to bring together noise, delicacy, drama, fantasy, brutality, and flexibility of intonation in his music. His works have been performed in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, France, Iceland, and Japan. Still getting rid of is orchestrated for soprano, mezzo-soprano, and orchestra, and the vocal parts were written for soloists Stephanie Aston and Leslie Leytham, both DMA candidates at UCSD.
John Adams’ The Wound Dresser was written in 1989 for baritone Sanford Sylvan. It is a setting of excerpts from Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name (written in 1865) about his experience nursing the wounded during the Civil War. The music conveys the grim and vivid imagery of the poem, but with compassion and, ultimately, hope. Towards the end, a solo trumpet (Jens Lindemann), sums up the somber military mood. The La Jolla Symphony will be joined by baritone Michael Blinco for this performance. A graduate of Chapman Conservatory, Blinco has been active with the San Diego Opera and Bach Collegium San Diego, as well as local community music outreach programs.
Johannes Brahms began work on what would be his first completed symphony in the early 1860s and worked on it right up to (and after) the premiere on November 4, 1876, when the composer was 43. Brahms was only too aware of the example of Beethoven’s nine symphonies and of the responsibility of any subsequent symphonist to be worthy of that example. He was concerned enough about how his first symphony would be received that he chose not to present it in Vienna, where all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies had been first performed. Brahms may have been uncertain about his symphony, but audiences were not, and the new work was soon praised in terms that must have seemed heretical to its composer. Some began to speak of “the three B’s,” and the conductor Hans von Bülow referred to the work as “the Tenth Symphony,” suggesting that it was a worthy successor to Beethoven’s nine.
The performances take place February 11–12, 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.