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Romantic side of
Musicians in the 19th century’s Romantic era emphasized imagination, emotion and creativity in their works and the Purdue Philharmonic explores “Great Works of the Romantics” at its season-opening concert on Saturday, Oct. 2.
It is set for 8 p.m. at the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette. Admission is free.
All fall orchestra concerts will feature music by Eastern European composers as director Andrew King prepares students for a Study Abroad concert tour in Poland, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republish in the summer of 2011. The tour is a 125th anniversary event for the Bands & Orchestras department at Purdue.
The Oct. 2 concert features an overture by Brahms, who made his home in Vienna, a contemporary concerto with piano soloist by Henryk Gorecki who resides in Poland, and Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s dramatic “Symphony No. 7.”
When Dvorak wrote his symphony in 1884, under a commission for the Royal Philharmonic Society, he said he wanted to “shock the world.” The resulting work did capture the attention of classical audiences and, of his nine symphonies, it was the first to be widely celebrated.
“It’s the most romantic sounding of the Dvorak pieces commonly played. Much of his other music is based on Czechoslovakian folk songs,” King says.
“Dvorak was inspired to write ‘Symphony No. 7’ after hearing a Brahms’ symphony.” He composed it in the key of D minor and the symphony “is famous for its ending,” King adds. “It’s in a minor key until the last five or six measures when it changes to major” for an uplifting finish.
Pianist Robert Elfline, a member of the music faculty at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, will be the soloist in “Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra” by Henryk Gorecki.
Polish national themes, religious and folk traditions influence Gorecki’s music. In the 1950s he became famous for his avant-garde compositions. This concerto, written in 1980, “is mimimalist like a lot of his pieces at that time but not as repetitive as other contemporary composers,” King says.
“Every time you hear the central tune it’s expanded by a measure or two, so it gets longer throughout the piece. It’s a neat and interesting little piece that lasts just ten minutes.”
Brahms’ ‘Academic Festival Overture’ is perfect for a college orchestra, King says, because it was premiered in the 1880s by the orchestra at the University of Breslau in Germany. “He wrote the piece for them because they gave him an honorary degree. The inside joke is that almost all the melodies heard in it are German college drinking songs. The final tune in the piece is often heard at commencements, even today, but especially in the 19th century.”“Great Music of the Romantics” is sponsored by Purdue Bands & Orchestras. More music from Eastern Europe will be presented at the Orchestra’s Dec. 4 concert.
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