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Dvořák’s Eighth: Shadow and Light

September 2017


   8:00 pm Friday, September 22, 2017 | 7:00 pm Take Note with Neal Gittleman and Kristofer Rucinski    
   8:00 pm Saturday, September 23, 2017 | 7:00 pm Take Note with Neal Gittleman and Kristofer Rucinski   

Classical Connections on September 24 features an in-depth look at Lou Harrison's Piano Concerto. CONCERT PAGE 

BERNSTEIN Candide Overture    
HARRISON Piano Concerto 
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8  


August 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. This 2017–2018 season of Masterworks Concerts commemorates this event by featuring the composer’s works throughout the year. For this concert, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra presents Bernstein’s Overture to Candide. The Overture, which is a “short orchestral firework,” is both a fitting opening to the comic operetta (based on Voltaire’s Candide) and to the The Great Ones Masterworks season. 

American composer Lou Harrison is not as much of a household name as other composers, yet he should be. Considered a member of the “West Coast Maverick school of composers,” he questioned or rebelled against certain aspects of Western musical tradition in his compositions. Harrison worked to create new harmonies and tunings, giving his music an original, distinctive voice in American music. This evening’s performance features Harrison’s Piano Concerto, which was written for jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. This concerto is a lively, challenging piece of music. There are four movements to this concerto, with the second movement, “The Stampede,” featuring the use of forearm chords and an octave bar—just one example of the dexterity required to play this piece. Tonight’s guest pianist, Kristofer Rucinski, is well versed in Harrison’s music and has previously performed the Piano Concerto. The dexterous Rucinski hasn’t traveled far for the performance; he’s a native of Ashland, Kentucky, and is currently a graduate assistant at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. 

The evening’s musical spontaneity continues with Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. As with the most memorable of Dvořák’s music, this composition is an homage to his Czech homeland. Although Dvořák did not use actual folk tunes within his music, he is famous for absorbing folk music elements and carrying their essence into his compositions. Listen carefully—the second movement of the symphony is almost a tone poem of Czech village life. Antonín Dvořák knew such villages well as he grew up in a small village along the banks of a river not far from Prague. Although he was supposed to apprentice in a trade, it didn’t take long before his father noticed his son’s musical prowess and instead sent him to school for musical training. A talented violinist and violist, Dvořák played in the orchestra under the conduction of Smetana but eventually left the orchestra to have more time for composing. Dvořák may have lived a simple, uncomplicated life, yet more than 200 years later, he would be regarded as the greatest Czech composer. 

When in 1892 Dvořák traveled to New York, a newspaper reporter wrote: “Dvořák impresses me as an original, natural.” From Bernstein to Harrison to Dvořák, this evening’s music is truly that . . . original. Don’t miss this special evening! 


Series sponsored by Premier Health 

DP&L Foundation DPAA Innovation Partner – Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts
Bob Ross Auto Group
Official Automobile Dealership of the DPO
DataYard Official Data Provider of the DPO
Marriott University of Dayton Official Hotel of the DPO
One Call Now DPAA Communications Partner

ThinkTV and Discover Classical 88.1 and 89.9 FM Masterworks Series Media Partners 


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