Romantic concert storm brewing with Brahms, Verdi, Adams, and a premiere


The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus will present its third concert of the 57th season with music director Steven Schick leading the orchestra and guest soloists in a program of stark and beautiful drama titled, “The Populist.”

On the playlist are Giuseppe Verdi’s overture to “La Forza del Destino”; Nicholas Deyoe’s “Still getting rid of” (2011-12 Thomas Nee Commission); John Adams’ “The Wound Dresser”; and Brahm’s “Symphony No. 1 in C minor.”

— Verdi’s opera “The Force of Destiny,” was based on a Spanish drama “Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino” (1835), by Ángel de Saavedra, Duke of Rivas. The story is 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 a favored concert opener.

— 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 has said he strives to bring together noise, delicacy, drama, fantasy, brutality, and flexibility of intonation in his music, which has been performed in 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.

— Adams’ “The Wound Dresser” was written in 1989 for baritone Sanford Sylvan. It is a setting of excerpts from Walt Whitman’s 1865 poem 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. Toward the end, a solo trumpet (Jens Lindemann), sums up the somber military mood.

Baritone Michael Blinco will join the La Jolla Symphony for this performance. A graduate of Chapman Conservatory, Blinco is active with the San Diego Opera and Bach Collegium San Diego, as well as local community music outreach programs.

— 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 Nov. 4, 1876, when the composer was 43.

He 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.

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 it was a worthy successor to Beethoven’s nine.

If you go


The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus


: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11; 2 p.m. Feb. 12


Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD


$15-$29. Free parking.

Pre-concert lecture:

One hour prior


(858) 534-4637