Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn highlight WSO’s first Classics concert

10/07/2012 6:41 AM

08/08/2014 10:33 AM

World-class pianist Ingrid Fliter will perform Mendelssohn’s intricate Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra on Saturday and Oct. 14, opening its 2012-13 Classics season.

Daniel Hege, the symphony’s music director and conductor, said that every concert should offer an assortment of music. From the fiery “Dances of Galanta” to Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s orchestral standard, this first concert is no exception.

The longest work of the evening, Tchaikovsky’s popular Fifth Symphony, offers a wide variety of cadences. The symphony starts out with a slow recurring melody.

“It has quiet nobility,” Hege said. “Then it moves into a slow march that moves into a fate motif.”

Tchaikovsky delves into the role of predestination in this famous work. The Fifth, which he wrote in 1888, features a French horn solo, some waltz music and an energetic ending.

Tchaikovsky’s work will follow Piano Concerto No. 1, written in Munich. The piano comes in early on, intermingling with the rest of the orchestra. This difficult, sweeping piece will feature Argentinian-born Fliter on the piano.

“She’s a very dynamic pianist,” Hege said. “She has garnered lots of praise from all corners. People will really get to hear the piano sing with Ingrid.”

Fliter, who divides her time between Europe and the United States, said she is excited to be coming back to Wichita and performing Mendelssohn.

“It is more recently that I have discovered my deep love towards his music,” Fliter said in an e-mail. When she performs this selection, she said, “I feel like flying, like floating in an air of perfumes and silk. It’s refreshing and purifying.”

Although Felix Mendelssohn only lived to 38, he was both prolific and admired. He helped to formalize the conductor’s role in the symphony and promoted fellow composers like Robert Schumann and Hector Berlioz.

The orchestra will begin the concert with Zoltan Kodaly’s “Dances of Galanta,” composed in 1933 in Hungary. He spent several of his childhood years in Galanta, which is now in Slovakia. Kodaly was inspired by his country’s folk songs.

“This piece is filled with Hungarian melodies and rhythms,” Hege said.

Kodaly earned a doctorate degree in Hungarian folksong from Budapest Academy. “Dances,” which features quick mood shifts, highlights the clarinet, oboe, flute and French horn.

“Your heart should race when you’re hearing this,” Hege said. “It really showcases the orchestra.”

This concert is the first of eight Classics concerts in the symphony’s 2012-13 season. The Oct. 27 and 28 concerts will feature violinist Jennifer Frautschi performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. In November, the orchestra will be joined by three choirs and three soloists in a performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”

Internationally renowned virtuoso guitarist Eliot Fisk will join the symphony in January. Later that month, the symphony will host mime and comedian Dan Kamin, who performs Charlie Chaplin’s material. Chaplin movies will form a backdrop for the second part of the performance.

George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein’s music is featured in February. In March, the symphony’s accomplished and internationally revered oboist Andrea Banke will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Oboe Concerto.

“We have an incredibly varied and rich set of programs,” Hege said. “People can learn about all kinds of music and be thrilled with it.”

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