Beethoven and Stravinsky symphonies will be keystones in ‘The Classicist’ concert this weekend
From Symphony ReportsThe La Jolla Symphony & Chorus (LJS&C) will perform Beethoven, Mozart and two works by Stravinsky, March 17-18, in its fourth concert of the “Stravinsky Circus!” season.
Music Director Steven Schick will lead 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 the program. In between guests will 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.
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.
Stravinsky composed “Symphony in C” between 1938 and 1940. 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. A member of the San Diego New Music Collective, Miller studies clarinet at UCSD with Anthony Burr, and is a 2011 LJS&C Young Artists Winner.
It seems fitting that 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.
If you go
What: La Jolla Symphony & Chorus concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18
Where: Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD.
Tickets: $15-$29. Parking is free.
Pre-concert lecture one hour prior to concert times.