Hartford Symphony Orchestra presents Mahler’s Fourth May 28-31

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Program also features world premiere of original composition,
Fanfare for the Hartford Woman

Hartford-Symphony-Orchestra-MahlerHartford Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-2015 Masterworks Series concludes with the culmination of its season-long tribute to Gustav Mahler with Mahler’s Fourth, Thursday, May 28 through Sunday, May 31 in the Belding Theater at The Bushnell in Hartford.  The concerts will be conducted by HSO Music Director, Carolyn Kuan, and feature HSO’s Principal Trombone, Brian Diehl, and soprano Jamilyn Manning-White. The concert will feature the world premiere of Fanfare for the Hartford Woman, a new work commissioned by the HSO through its Fanfare Composition Competition this spring (winner to be announced this week). In addition, the program will include Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Mackey’s Harvest: Concerto for Trombone. This concert is sponsored by the Saunders Fund for Innovative Programming. The 2014-2015 Masterworks Series is sponsored by MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation.

About the Program

In the first volume of his autobiography (Copland, 1900 through 1942, St. Martin’s/Marek, 1984), the composer Aaron Copland recounted the genesis of his popular Fanfare for the Common Man:

“Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, had written to me at the end of August [1942] about an idea he wanted to put into action for the 1942-43 concert season. During World War I he had asked British composers for a fanfare to begin each orchestral concert. It had been so successful that he thought to repeat the procedure in World War II with American composers. Goossens wrote: ‘It is my idea to make these fanfares stirring and significant contributions to the war effort, so that I suggest you give your fanfare a title, as for instance, A Fanfare for Soldiers, or For Airmen or Sailors.’ The challenge was to compose a traditional fanfare, direct and powerful, yet with a contemporary sound…. The music was not terribly difficult to compose, but working slowly as was my custom, I did not have the fanfare ready to send to Goossens until November.…After I decided on Fanfare for the Common Man and sent the score to Goossens, I think he was rather puzzled by the title. He wrote, ‘Its title is as original as its music, and I think it is so telling that it deserves a special occasion for its performance. If it is agreeable to you, we will premiere it 14 March [sic] 1943 at income tax time….’ I was all for honoring the common man at income tax time. Since that occasion, Fanfare has been played by many and varied ensembles, ranging from the U.S. Air Force Band to the popular Emerson, Lake, and Palmer group…. I confess that I prefer Fanfare in the original version, and I later used it in the final movement of my Third Symphony.”

John Mackey wrote that Harvest: Concerto for Trombone “is based on the myths and mystery rituals of the Greek god Dionysus. As the Olympian god of the vine, Dionysus is famous for inspiring ecstasy and creativity. But this agricultural, earth-walking god was also subjected each year to a cycle of agonizing death before glorious rebirth, analogous to the harsh pruning and long winter the vines endure before blooming again in the spring. The Concerto’s movements attempt to represent this dual nature and the cycle of suffering and return. The first section begins with a slow introduction, heavy on ritualistic percussion, representing the summoning of Dionysus’ worshippers to the ceremony. The rite itself builds in intensity, with Dionysus (represented by the solo trombone) engaging in call and response with his followers, some of whom are driven to an ecstatic outcry — almost a ‘speaking in tongues’ — represented by insistent woodwind trills. But when Dionysus transitions to a gentler tone, his frenzied worshippers do not follow. Their fervor overcomes them, and they tear their god to shreds in an act of ritual madness. This brutal sacrifice by the ecstatic worshippers — the pruning of the vine — is followed without pause by the second section, representing Dionysus in the stillness of death, or winter. The god is distant, the music like a prayer. The shoots of spring burst forth in the final section, following again without pause. The earth is reborn as Dionysus rises once more, inciting the ecstasy and liberation that have been celebrated in his name for centuries.” Featuring HSO’s Principal Trombone, Brian Diehl.

It is important to understanding Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major to realize that its entire mood and structure are built to lead to the finale — the first three movements serve to prepare for and illuminate the closing vision. The composer is reported to have said, “In the first three movements there reigns the serenity of a higher realm, a realm strange to us, oddly frightening, even terrifying. In the finale, the child, which in its previous existence belonged to this higher realm, tells us what it all means….” The child-like simplicity and open-faced sincerity of the last movement supply not only the general emotional framework of the Symphony, but also influence some of its musical materials. The development section of the first movement, for example, contains a chirruping theme for four unison flutes derived from the concluding song. It is not the normal course of creation for a work to proceed forward from its ending. In this instance, however, this is what happened, and the first three movements need to be viewed as the various steps through which the listener is prepared to understand the full implications of the finale. Max Kalbeck, the distinguished critic, wrote following the Viennese premiere in January 1902, “What touches us most in Mahler’s Symphony is the feeling which emanates from the work. The longing for simplicity — ‘Unless you become like children you will not enter God’s realm.’” Featuring soprano Jamilyn Manning-White.

Calendar Listing:
Hartford Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Series
MAHLER’S FOURTH
Thursday – Sunday, May 28-31, 2015
Belding Theater at The Bushnell
Thursday 7:30pm?Friday & Saturday 8pm?Sunday 3pm
Tickets starting at $38.50; $10.00 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Brian Diehl HSO Principal Trombone
Jamilyn Manning-White soprano
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
World Premiere/Original Commission Fanfare for the Hartford Woman
Mackey Harvest: Concerto for Trombone
Mahler Symphony No. 4 in G Major

Season Sponsor: Travelers
Masterworks Series Sponsors:
MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation
This concert is sponsored by the Saunders Fund for Innovative Programming

HSO programs are funded in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Upcoming HSO Concerts

Hartford Symphony Orchestra POPS! Series
DISNEY IN CONCERT
Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Mortensen Hall at The Bushnell
Tickets starting at $22.50, $10 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org
Timeless images synchronized with live music will transport you to your favorite Disney musical moments. Bring the whole family to see Disney’s beloved animations and hear the HSO perform arrangements from early classics to recent releases, including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, Tarzan and others.