Boston, MA–Boston’s Discovery Ensemble, conducted by Courtney Lewis who was recently appointed as the new Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic and who is replacing ailing conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos at the Houston Symphony concerts this weekend, [March 21-23], will present“Crosscurrents: Four Intimately Linked Composers” Sunday, April 13 at 3 P.M. at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston. The program will feature Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 featuring violinist Xiang Yu,Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments and Hadyn’s Symphony No. 102 in B-Flat major. The concert will be preceded by A Musical Conversation with conductor Courtney Lewis hosted by Classical New England‘s Brian McCreath at 2 P.M. Jordan Hall is wheelchair accessible.
About the program:
Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, Stravinsky and Beethoven, Beethoven and Haydn: all these pieces bounce off each other stylistically.
The String Serenade and the 1812 Overture were composed back-to-back during the autumn of 1880. While Tchaikovsky regarded the Serenade as one of his finest works, he could not say the same of the work which would soon be inducted into the musical hall-of-fame: “The overture will be very loud and noisy, but I wrote it without any warm feelings of love and so, it will probably be of no artistic merit. But the serenade, on the contrary, I wrote from inner compulsion. This is a piece from the heart, and so, I venture to hope that this work is not without artistic qualities.”
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 is one of the most important works of the violin concerto repertoire, and it is frequently performed and recorded today. Premiered in 1806, the work was written for Beethoven’s colleague, Franz Clement, a leading violinist of the day.
Even for Stravinsky, the Symphonies of Wind Instruments is strikingly original, grounded not in the “symphonic” genre but – as the musicologist Richard Taruskin has shown – in the Russian Orthodox service for the dead. It began as a serene and archaic chorale composed in memory of Debussy. Stravinsky then expanded this “Fragment” with music more popular in flavor. The chorale, at the close, became an apotheosis sublimating an eclectic wealth of material. The ensemble eschews strings in favor of colorful, chanting winds. According to Stravinsky, in 1936: “I did not, and indeed I could not, count on any immediate success for this work. It lacks all those elements that infallibly appeal to the ordinary listener, or to which he is accustomed . . . It is an austere ritual which is unfolded in terms of short litanies . . . This music is not meant to ‘please’ an audience, nor to arouse its passions.”
“Rapturously received at its London premiere and still regarded by critics as one of Haydn‘s finest symphonic works — perhaps even his best symphony — this is, curiously, one of the least performed ofHaydn‘s last 20-some symphonies. It lacks a nickname and broad musical jokes, but that’s a superficial reason for its neglect. Though it is the Symphony No. 96 that bears the nickname ‘Miracle,’ it was actually at the premiere of this work that a chandelier crashed to the floor of the hall — inspiring shouts of ‘it’s a miracle’ when it became clear that no one had been hurt.” – James Reel, AllMusic.com
About Xiang Yu:
Winner of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in 2010, violinist Xiang Yu is regarded as one of today’s most talented and creative young violinists. His astonishing technique, distinctive sound, and exceptional musicality have won him consistent critical acclaim (the Strad, Strings Magazine, the Boston Globe) and enthusiastic audience response worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral engagements, and chamber music performances.
In addition to winning the Menuhin Competition, including the Bach Prize and Audience prize, Xiang also won 2nd prize in the Wieniawski International Violin Competition (2006) as the youngest prize winner; 3rd prize in the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (2011); 2nd prize and the Best Commissioned Work Prize in the 25th Irving M. Klein International String Competition; and 1st prize and the Best Chamber Music Performance prize of the Baden-Württemberg International Music Competition (2005).
Reserved seat single concert tickets for this concert, priced at $40, $32 and $20, are available now by calling the Jordan Hall box office, 617-585-1260 or in person at the box office at 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston. Box Office hours are 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. Mondays through Fridays and 12 P.M. – 6 P.M. on Saturdays. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.discoveryensemble.org or at www.tix.com. Tickets for seniors with identification are available in person at the box office at a discount of $10 in all price ranges. Student tickets are FREE with student ID and a voucher which is available at the box office or downloadable at www.discoveryensemble.org.
About Discovery Ensemble:
Discovery Ensemble is a highly-acclaimed chamber orchestra founded in 2008 by Conductor Courtney Lewis and Artistic Director David St. George. The orchestra is made up of 50 exceptional professional musicians in their twenties and early thirties from the Greater Boston area. This finely-honed and virtuosic ensemble has consistently received stellar reviews in the media. In its concerts, Discovery Ensemble presents an eclectic cross section of masterworks – some familiar, some unfamiliar – in performances that are impassioned, searching and at the highest level of technical accomplishment.