Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 15, the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will present their third and final Masterworks program for the 2012 season - and Roswell teen, Riley Osborn, has been tapped to perform with them.
The Rising Star Concerto Competition winners, Osborn, 15, and Alice Barbe, 11, will perform the second and third movements of Mozart’s “Concerto No. 10 in E-flat major for Two Pianos, K. 365/316a” with the Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of the Director of Chamber Orchestras, Dr. Gregory Pritchard.
The Concerto Competition winners, Barbe and Osborn, were chosen from a field of 26 pianists by an outside judge. Competitors were required to audition in teams specifically for the ‘Concerto No. 10,’ which was written for two pianos.
Osborn began her piano studies at age three with her brother Graham and currently studies with Shirley Irek. Her recent accomplishments include being a winner of the Dekalb County Bach Competition in 2010 as well as receiving Honorable Mention in the 2010 MTNA Competition. She studied during the summer of 2011 with Crag Nies at the Brevard Music Festival and has been awarded a merit scholarship to study again at Brevard this year. Osborn was the winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition for 2012 and was awarded a scholarship. She lives in Roswell, and is a home schooled 9th grader.
The Concerto No. 10, which competition winners Barbe and Osborn will perform, was written in 1779 by Mozart to play with his sister Maria Anna. The concerto departs from the usual solo piano concerto, with a dialogue between two pianos as they exchange musical ideas. Mozart divides up the more striking passages quite evenly between the two pianos. Also, the orchestra is more quiet than in Mozart's other piano concertos, leaving much of the music to the soloists.
The evening will also include a special Youth Orchestra Showcase of performances by the Gwinnett Youth Symphony Orchestra and Youth Honors Orchestra,
The Youth Orchestra Showcase will include performances of Jeffery Bishop’s “Brigid's Fire,” Keith Sharp’s “River Song,” and Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s “Themes from the Moldau,” under the direction of the Director of Youth Orchestras, Scott Hague.
"Oone of our favorite pieces right now is ‘Brigid's Fire.’ It is very rhythmic and driving," said Hague. "'River Song' is a beautiful legato piece, with nonstop flowing arpeggios in the cello section. The violins enjoy a soaring, fantastic melody on top of the viola and cello harmonies."
Continuing the river motif, “Themes from the Moldau” is a musical portrayal of the main river which runs through the countryside of Bohemia (present day Czechoslovakia). The composer wrote the work following a trip he took down the river as part of a larger cycle of six symphonic poems written between 1874 and 1879 entitled “Má Vlast” (My Country).
The advanced Youth Honors Orchestra will perform the final movement of Gustav Holst's “St. Paul Suite,” ‘The Dargason,’ under the baton of the Student Chamber Orchestra Conductor, Norman Bernal. In 1913, Holst composed this piece for the opening of a new music wing in the all-girls school of which he taught music. The ‘Dargason’s catchy tune was borrowed and expanded from his famous “First Suite in Eb” for military band.
Music Director and founding Conductor, Robert Trocina will lead the Symphony Orchestra and the Youth Honors Orchestra in performing Hector Berlioz’s fourth movement, ‘March to the Scaffold,’ from “Symphonie Fantastique,” and Franz Liszt’s “Les Préludes.”
‘March to the Scaffold,’ from French Romantic composer Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique,” (1830) recreates a ghoulish scene straight from the French Revolution. The protagonist dreams that he has been sentenced to death for killing his Beloved. The musical theme of the Beloved appears only briefly in this movement, in a humorous transformation scored comically for the highest, or E-flat, clarinet, as though the Beloved has come back to mock his fate. The music graphically portrays a mob scene that concludes with the protagonist's death: he is guillotined and you hear his head bouncing down into a waiting basket with pizzicato precision while the crowd shouts wild approval.
Liszt’s “Les Préludes,” the third and most famous of his thirteen "symphonic poems," was premiered at Weimar in 1854, and, like the others, grew out of his desire to use literature as a basis for symphonic music. Officially, “Les Préludes” was based on Alphonse de Lamartine's long poem of the same name, and it is easy enough to hear a relationship between Liszt's music and Lamartine's account of life as a series of ‘préludes’ leading up to death, the main event. Despite the affinities to Lamartine's poem, however, the work was originally conceived as an overture to a series of choruses Liszt had written some eight years earlier. Undoubtedly, he renamed the piece partly to trade on Lamartine's greater name recognition, but the change also reflects his transformation of the earlier overture from a mere collection of contrasting themes into a more continuous and focused sequence of musical ‘events,’ which could convey the sense of a narrative involving epic forces.
The Gwinnett Symphony Chorus will perform Morten Lauridsen's “Lux Aeterna” with the Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Orchestra for this concert, led by Rick Smith, Music Director of Choral Activities. This exquisite choral masterpiece consists of five connected movements, all of which contain references to 'Light’ assembled from various sacred Latin texts. Lauridsen composed “Lux Aeterna” in response to his Mother's final illness, and found great comfort and solace in setting to music these timeless and wondrous words about Light, a universal symbol of illumination at all levels - spiritual, artistic and intellectual.
"I first became familiar with "Lux Aeterna" about a year ago as I was planning the music for our 2011-2012 season," said Smith. "Upon hearing the work in its entirety, I was overwhelmed with the sheer beauty and depth of the work. I immediately ‘pressed rewind’ and listened to it again. I knew I had found our next 'great' work. If you can, imagine the late morning sun peeking through sparse clouds and trees. You will see what remains of the interrupted beams of light that make it through to your eyes. As you move or change your perspective to the sun, those beams appear to intertwine, cross, or re-angle. Still backed with the purest brightness of white lights, these beams seemingly dance together, thus creating bursts of excellence in both harmony and melody. Lauridsen has realized this majesty in his composition."
The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center, Duluth. Tickets for the concert can be purchased through Ticketmaster or the group’s website.