The Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra presents its next concert, "Fire and Magic," with works by Mozart, Stravinsky, and Brahms. This will be the third concert in the 2007-2008 series, and will be conducted by Music Director Kate Tamarkin and feature acclaimed pianist Andrew Armstrong. The concert will be on Saturday, February 9 at 8:00pm, with a second performance on Sunday, February 10 at 3:30pm.
Magic and fire course through this entire program, but they manifest themselves in different ways on each half of the program. Ms. Tamarkin devotes the first half to music borrowed from the stage, opening with Mozart's zesty overture to The Magic Flute. The opera is a parable about the forces of good and evil. It features two charming love stories, a dragon, an evil queen, a noble priest, a silly birdcatcher and, of course, the enchanted musical instrument of its title. Mozart's overture captures the spirit and the symbolism of the opera.
Stravinsky's Suite from The Firebird is adapted from his first great ballet score. The plot taps into Russian folklore: a tale of a handsome prince who discovers a beautiful princess imprisoned in an enchanted garden. Her captor is an evil ogre, but with the help of the magic Firebird, the prince breaks the ogre's spell and frees the maiden. Stravinsky's lush, brilliantly orchestrated Suite combines Russian folk tunes with his incomparable sense of color.
After intermission, we experience a different species of fire and magic in Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, performed with soloist Andrew Armstrong. The drama here is inherent in the music, and in the complex relationship between piano and orchestra. Monumental and passionate, Brahms's music surges and swells with the impetuosity of romanticism. Though it tells no story, it sparks our imagination and touches our soul with the fire and magic of great music.
Praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique, pianist Andrew Armstrong has delighted audiences around the world. He has performed solo recitals and appeared with orchestras in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States, including performances at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and Warsaw's National Philharmonic. Having performed over 35 concertos, Mr. Armstrong has impressed his international audiences with a large repertoire ranging from Bach to Babbit and beyond. Before beginning his career as a concert pianist, Mr. Armstrong received over 25 national and international First Prizes.
Free pre-concert lectures will be held in Minor Hall starting 45 minutes before each concert. They will be led by McIntire Department of Music Associate Professor Richard Will. In addition, Ms. Tamarkin will continue her popular "Noon Notes" lecture series. "Noon Notes" is held each Friday before concert weekends, at noon, now at the Northside branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Overture to "The Magic Flute"
The Firebird Suite (1919)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor
Andrew Armstrong, piano
Tickets: Single tickets range from $11 to $28 and can be purchased at the Cabell Hall Box Office at (434) 924-3984, 12pm to 5pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.cvillesymphony.org.