La Jolla, Calif. (April 11, 2012) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) presents its fifth concert of the 57th season on May 5-6, with choral director David Chase leading the orchestra, two choruses and soloists in a program inspired by the many faces of spring: Grieg’s Last Spring, Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Major -- “Spring,” and Britten’s Spring Symphony. Guest artists for the Britten are Kerrie Caldwell (soprano), Sasha Hashemipour (mezzo-soprano), Christopher Bingham (tenor), and the San Diego North Coast Singers (youth chorus).
“Our program considers the season from every angle,” says conductor David Chase. “From Grieg’s wistful lament and Schumann’s romantically effusive symphony to Britten’s charming and multi-layered setting of 14 English poems.”
Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) is considered to be a nationalist composer, drawing from Norwegian folk music for his melodic material. Last Spring is a touching and deeply lyrical elegy for string orchestra. It was composed in 1880, and is less warbling birds and spring blossoms than a wistful reflection of a spring just passed or perhaps the last of all springs a person may experience. The short work is part of Grieg’s Two Elegiac Melodies: the first of the pair, Heart’s Wounds, will begin the concert.
Robert Schumann (1810–1856) composed his first symphony shortly after his marriage in 1840 to Clara Wieck, a renowned pianist. The symphony, which Schumann observed as “born in one fiery hour,” is full of the joy of a blissful bridegroom. It took only two months to complete, and was premiered on March 31, 1841, by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Schumann’s friend, Felix Mendelssohn. This buoyant symphony, which carries the subtitle “Spring,” was inspired by a poem by Adolph Boettger. It bursts with a glorious brass fanfare that broadens into a majestic orchestral theme. The final movement practically prances with joy in the spring sunshine.
The program concludes with Spring Symphony, a delightful choral work of great variety by Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) that the chorus will repeat three weeks later on the main stage at Carnegie Hall.“We are so pleased that our chorus, and the North Coast Singers, will have an opportunity to perform Spring Symphony – a favorite of mine – at Carnegie. A number of our ‘alumni’ singers have returned to sing with us in the Mandeville Auditorium performance, where we will have 200 singers on stage, and then many will also accompany us to New York for the late May reprise,” says Chase.
Spring Symphony was written for conductor Serge Koussevitzky, who commissioned it, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This cleverly-crafted and melodic piece borrows thematically-appropriate texts from various English poems. The texts are grouped to create movements that convey a particular mood, beginning with the celebratory awakening of spring in the first movement and ending in the final movement with a welcome to the summer ahead. Britten’s symphony includes choruses (adult and children’s choirs), three vocal soloists, and an especially large orchestra.
The performances take place May 5–6, 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.