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Symphony welcomes spring
The Port Angeles Symphony presents its last full orchestra concert of the 2010-2011 season — “Come, gentle Spring!” — on Saturday, April 16.
Featured music includes Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” with a solo by Monique Mead, Jean Sibelius’ “Spring Song,” Leroy Anderson’s “The First Day of Spring,” and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 in B-flat “Spring.”
Concert organizers said Mead’s solo once was considered unplayable.
Mead has served as an ambassador of classical music as a violinist, teacher and concert presenter in Europe and the U.S.
In 1996 she moved to Germany, where she gained widespread recognition as a performer and presenter of youth and family concerts. She gained major sponsors from Audi, Bayer, the American Consul General and more from TV and radio appearances and as a guest for several German orchestras.
During the 2006 Soccer World Cup, Mead toured Germany with performances of her “Fussball a Tempo” program, which became a CD. Her other recordings include “Mother Goose meets Father Bach,” “Great Violin Miniatures” and three CDs with music and children’s stories in German.
In the U.S., she performs in and presents concerts, leads seminars and develops education projects for organizations such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony and the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colo., where she and her husband, Andrés Cárdenes, serve as music directors.
Mead also teaches violin at the Preparatory School of Carnegie Mellon University.
For more information on Mead, visit www.moniquemead.com.
“Violin Concerto” in D major by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky composed his concerto from 1877-1878, and it’s been regarded as a difficult piece of work to play. Musicians say its appeal lies in the many ingratiating melodies, and the audience enjoys watching a violinist perform its solo.
At first, the concerto was labeled “unplayable” because almost everyone who first read or heard the score dismissed it.
Hans Richter reluctantly played the concerto in 1881, to a lukewarm response and a bashing from critics.
Adolph Brodsky, the first performance soloist, was one of a few to show confidence in the piece and display its playability. Other prominent violinists gradually took it up and established it as one of the few great works for virtuoso violinists.
“Spring Song” by Jean Sibelius
Sibelius was a Finnish composer of symphonies and symphonic poems, including “Spring Song,” written in 1894. His music’s intent was to remind his fellow countrymen of their national heritage.
Sibelius is regarded as perhaps the leading composer of Finland. His fame spread, leading to tours in Germany and England to conduct his own music.
He became seriously ill with throat cancer in 1908 and had a series of operations. After recovering, he traveled as a conductor again before retiring in the mid-1920s.
Sibelius produced seven symphonies, 13 tone poems, a violin concerto and a host of symphonic poems, songs, and chamber works.
“The First Day of Spring” by Leroy Anderson
Born and educated in Cambridge, Mass., Anderson studied both music and Scandinavian languages at Harvard. World War II interrupted his work as a composer, arranger and conductor; he served as a translator in the U.S. Army.
Anderson is remembered for the many entertaining short works he composed for orchestra, in which his gift for catchy tunes and rhythms was matched by his clever, lighthearted use of instrumental effects.
Anderson’s talents as a composer and arranger brought him into close collaboration with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, who premiered many of his popular works.
“Jazz Pizzicato,” “Syncopated Clock,” “Fiddle-Faddle,” “The Typewriter,” “Trumpeter’s Lullaby” and “Sleigh Ride” all found a receptive and enthusiastic audience.
“The First Day of Spring” was written in 1954.
Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 34 “Spring” by Robert Schumann
Schumann was most successful with his work in piano. His “Spring Symphony” was composed after he wed Clara Wieck after years of opposition from her father.
Schumann’s notes on “Spring” — his first symphony — reveal that he sketched it out in just four days at the end of January 1841. Orchestration took less than a month.
Its first performance was in March 1841 and received a positive reception, but his future orchestral works would not gain the same acclaim.
For more symphony information, call 457-5579, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.portangelessymphony.org.