Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019 - Sunday, May 3, 2020 › Classics Series
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Famous for inciting a riot at its 1913 premiere due to its cutting-edge sound, Stravinsky’s Rite represents “the mystery and great surge of creative power of Spring.” Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto has been called a “wonderfully accessible, richly melodic new work — one propelled by exhilarating rhythms, vibrant orchestral color, and an ingenious use of strings, woodwinds and percussion” (Chicago Sun-Times). Opening the program is Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony, a staggering work of energy and invention. MOZART…
A wicked sorcerer has transformed princess Odette into a bird in Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet Swan Lake; the composer’s sweet melodies and vibrant orchestral colors have made this suite an enduring favorite. Listen for more musical stories in Mendelssohn’s Overture, which conjures Shakespeare’s fairies and lovers. Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto puts his youth and vigor on display — Rach was merely 17 when he began to compose it.
Banjo legend Béla Fleck has earned 14 Grammy Awards for his work across bluegrass, country, jazz, folk and more. In these can’t-miss concerts, Fleck joins the orchestra to perform his Second Banjo Concerto — named for Fleck’s son Juno, this striking concerto shines a light on an instrument rarely experienced in a classical setting. Beginning the program are two familiar favorites by Copland, as well as a work by Winston-Salem’s own Kenneth Frazelle, inspired by childhood memories of a joyride on New Year's Eve.
It was Sibelius’ “dearest wish” and “overriding ambition” to become an esteemed violin star — instead, he ultimately composed one of the most treasured pieces in violin repertoire. Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, performed here by the masterful Rachel Barton Pine, balances substance with pyrotechnics. The first half of the program features two rivers: Schumann’s "Rhenish" symphony was inspired by a happy vacation along Germany’s Rhine, while Smetana’s Moldau winds its way through Prague.
250 years ago Ludwig van Beethoven was born — within a few years, he would change the very face of music. As part of a global celebration of this revolutionary composer, WSS presents an all-Beethoven concert in his honor. The world immediately took notice of Beethoven’s First Symphony, a genre-changing masterpiece which marked a graduation from his education under Mozart and Haydn. This birthday party begins with the overture to his only opera, Fidelio, and culminates in his tranquil Mass in C, featuring the WSS Symphony Chorus.
We close the season with selections from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, one of the most massively ambitious contributions to opera ever witnessed. Close your eyes and experience the Norse mythology that so inspired Wagner’s music, including goddesses, dwarves, giants, and his iconic Valkyries. Composer Lukas Foss called his Renaissance Concerto, which features a solo flute, “a handshake across the centuries.” Hector Berlioz also looked to the Renaissance when writing his vivid Roman Carnival Overture, which opens this program.