Friday, May 16, 2014

Symphony: Thursday, May 15 2014

The concert this afternoon began with music by the English composer, Henry Purcell, who is widely considered to be England's greatest composer, prior to Elgar. Dances from The Fairy Queen, 2. 629, composed 1692, was inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, then one hundred years old. The piece was part of a semi-opera, The Fairy Queen, which was a spoken play with interludes of singing and dancing.

This music was delightful, representative of its time, and must have been perfect for its purpose. It evoked in my mind's eye, dancers swaying to the music, and I wondered what songs had accompanied the dancing, if any.

The second piece was Harp Concerto, op. 25, by Alberto Ginastera, the finest composer Argentina has produced. Commissioned by Edna Phillips, Principal Harp of the Philadelpha Orchestra, it took Ginastera from 1956 to 1964 to complete the task. It is considered perhaps the finest harp concerto composed in the twentieth century. A modern composition, it has a fresh and new sound, very different from earlier classical music. Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton played the harp as few people have heard it played. Fabulous!

Holyrood Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
After the intermission, the orchestra played Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op 56 "Scottish", by Felix Mendelssohn, composed 1829-1842. This piece was inspired by a visit Mendelssohn paid to Holyrood Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland. The second movement is suggestive of Scottish folk music, and the symphony ends with a stirring climax. The TSO certainly showed their expertise, and the performance was given a standing ovation.

What an interesting afternoon, full of such a wide variety of music! Conducted by Michael Francis, this was a concert not soon to be forgotten.

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