La Jolla, Calif. (October 10, 2011) — The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) opens the 57th season -- Stravinsky Circus! -- with music director Steven Schick at the podium, conducting the orchestra and guest artist Charissa Barger in a program of music from Paris: Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Debussy’s Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
“We have chosen Stravinsky as the thread of this season’s La Jolla Symphony and Chorus concerts for a lot of reasons,” says Schick. “It’s music that is beautiful, breathtaking, often very moving, and always extremely provocative. It is also music that defined its age so strongly that its echoes continue to propagate to the present time.”
October’s concert reflects upon Stravinsky’s time in France. He moved to Paris in 1920 and became a naturalized French citizen in 1934. While there, he formed a relationship with the French piano manufacturer Pleyel, which acted as his agent and collected royalties for him, and provided him with a monthly income and studio space in which to work and entertain friends and colleagues. During this time Stravinsky also developed relationships with several French composers including Debussy and Ravel.
Stravinsky wrote Symphonies of Wind Instruments in 1920, and dedicated it to the memory of Claude Debussy, who died in 1918. The experimental work was premiered in London in 1921 and conducted by Serge Koussevitzky. Arthur Rubenstein, who was present, recalled that the audience responded with laughter and scorn, but it subsided when Stravinsky bowed at the end of the performance. Stravinsky’s use of the word “symphonies” is not intended to indicate the literal form of the piece; instead he chose it for the Greek connotation of “sounding together.”
To show off its new chromatic pedal harp, the Pleyel company commissioned Claude Debussy in 1904 to write his Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane for harp and orchestra; the piece eventually took a place among the best-known works for harp in the concert repertoire. LJS&C 2010 Young Artist Competition winner Charissa Barger will solo with the orchestra.
Maurice Ravel originally wrote Ma Mère L’Oye (Mother Goose Suite) as piano-four hands for children in 1908. Its premiere in Paris, two years later, was performed by two talented young pianists, ages 7 and 10. In 1911, Ravel orchestrated the work and expanded it slightly. Each of the five movements is inspired by scenes from well-known French fairy tales, including The Enchanted Garden and Beauty and the Beast.
The Rite of Spring was produced by Sergei Diaghilev for his Ballets Russes and premiered in Paris in 1913. This work is famous for its riotous reception from the audience. The rhythmic score, the primitive scenario of a pagan ritual in which a young girl dances herself to death, and the choreography shocked an audience that was more accustomed to conservative conventions of classical ballet. Today, it is hailed as one of Stravinsky’s most important works.
The performances take place October 29–30, 2011 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 LJS&C 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, maestro Steven Schick shares the podium with David Chase, LJS&C choral director, performing works by Stravinsky, Brahms, Bartok, Verdi, Györgi Ligeti, David Lang, John Adams, and more.