DSO Program Highlights: 2016-2017 Season

A World on a Stage: September 23, 2016

Our season opens with the Mahler’s colossal 5th Symphony.  From its dark, funereal opening to its blazing, triumphant final movement—it gloriously fulfills Mahler’s own requirement that a ‘symphony must be like the world….and contain everything”.  From its darkest moments to its most brilliant climaxes, this is one of the glories of the symphonic literature.

We open our concert with a work written for our soloists, Sharon and Jaime, by A I duPont Award winner, Andre Previn.  A work filled with charm, grace, good humor and beauty—it is a perfect partner for the universalist Mahler.

Cinematic Sweep: November 18, 2016

From Wagner’s glorious Prelude and Love-Death is the literal alpha and omega of his opera Tristan and Isolde. From the opening music, with its famously unresolved ‘Tristan chord’, we cut to the end of the 5 hour opera to the glorious ending in which love is finally resolved but only in death.  West Side Story has a similar theme, but where Wagner was riffing on the ideas of Schopenhauer, Bernstein was riffing on jazz and popular music in one of the most famous scores of the 20th Century.  Ravel’s Bolero is less about love, and thanks to Bo Derek in “10”, more about, shall we say, other things.  Korngold, most famous for his movie scores, shows us just why his music was so well suited to cinema—with technicolor orchestration and larger-than-life dramatic flair in his pyrotechnic violin concerto.

Elegy and Idyll: February 24, 2017

Anna Clyne’s fragile and tender Within Her Arms opens a program featuring Brahms’ sunny 2nd symphony and Beethoven’s first piano concerto.  Clyne’s deeply affecting work, written in memory of her mother, invites comparisons with Barber’s Adagio.  Beethoven’s first piano concerto is filled with wit, tenderness and the fiery virtuosity he was known for as a player.  Alon Goldstein, a Delaware favorite,  brings just the right balance of intimacy and flair.

From its gentle opening to its blazing finale, Brahms 2—from its idyllic first movement to its blazing finale—is  an archetype of 19th C style and form wrapped up in Brahms’ always-appealing warmth and drama.

Apotheosis: March 24, 2017

The glorious voice of Denyce Graves will be featured in De Falla’s smoldering music to the ballet El Amor Brujo.  Filled with Andalusian passion, Gypsy flair, magic, ghosts, and, in the end, true love, it is a glittering showpiece for both singer and orchestra.  The concert concludes with Beethoven’s electric 7th Symphony—which Richard Wagner called ‘the apotheosis of the dance’ for its intense rhythmic energy.  We open with Elgar’s beautiful Serenade for strings—as decorous as the Beethoven is raucous.  

[TITLE]: May 12, 2017

Stravinsky’s brittle, ascetic Ode, music once destined for an Orson Welles film, is balanced by the ripe romanticism of Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto (“Shine”), and Tchaikovsky’s evergreen 4th Symphony.  Brought to life by Russian pianist Sergei Babayan, the Rachmaninoff is an at turns a wistful, brilliant and passionate last breath of the waning Romantic Era.  Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony, on the other hand, is the Romantic Era’s standard-bearer—dramatic, volatile, tender, languid, and in the end, triumphant.