HARTFORD, March 20, 2009 – The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will drive out the winter blues and usher in the freshness of spring with a vibrant edition of "Beethoven in The Belding," on Thursday, May 7 – Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at The Belding Theater in the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. Led by Music Director Edward Cumming, the HSO will invigorate audiences with the renewed energy of springtime in a program featuring Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Rachmaninoff’s First Concerto for Piano and Orchestra as performed by up-and-coming Canadian pianist, Ryosuke Yanagitani.
The first half of this program is marked by two works written by composers at the beginning of their careers. Undoubtedly inspired by the gardens and woods of his childhood home in the German countryside, Mendelssohn composed his musical setting to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was only 17 years old. Woven into its enchanting texture are sounds of the woodland sprites, the shimmering light through forest leaves, the sweet sighs of lovers, and even the "ee-ah" braying of the play’s most memorable character, Bottom. Since its premiere, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been considered a masterpiece and the work that launched Mendelssohn’s prolific career.
Rachmaninoff’s career, however, did not take off as quickly as Mendelssohn’s; reviewers were wary of the 18 year old’s First Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. However, one critic had the foresight to see Rachmaninoff’s genius, writing: [The Piano Concerto shows] "taste, tension, youthful sincerity and obvious knowledge; already there is much promise." Thankfully, Rachmaninoff did not abandon his compositional career after his first premiere and today this concerto’s melancholy lyricism and technical demands have made it one of the most popular pieces in the piano repertoire.
The second half of this program will be devoted to Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, a vivacious work in which Beethoven’s use of boisterous rhythm and intoxicating melodies caused some of his contemporaries to believe he had written it in a drunken frenzy. Says HSO Music Director Edward Cumming, "Most people love the 5th and 9th symphonies, but real Beethoven connoisseurs gravitate towards the 7th for its second movement – a more majestic and stately cortège you simply won't find. But I love the finale – a jig without a melody! But who cares? It's been nearly seven years since we last did the 7th, and it's high time we came back to it."
Pianist Ryosuke Yanagitani has distinguished himself as one of Canada's most promising young concert artists. Currently working towards the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the Yale School of Music, Mr. Yanagitani has appeared with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Moroccan Symphony Orchestra, among others. He recently garnered the silver medal and audience prize at the Dr. Luis Sigall International Piano Competition in Vina del Mar, Chile, and was a finalist at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition, and Hugo Kauder International Piano Competition.
Marking its 65th season in 2008-2009, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is Connecticut’s premier musical organization. The Hartford Symphony is the second largest orchestra in New England and is widely recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. Dedicated to the performance of live symphonic music and the presentation of quality education and community programs, each season the Hartford Symphony plays to audiences numbering approximately 160,000 and reaches thousands statewide through its broadcast concerts on WNPR Connecticut Public Radio. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s extensive array of Musical Pathways educational activities serves more than 64,000 individuals in Hartford and surrounding communities annually. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is supported by more than 5,000 subscribers and 3,000 donors. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra receives major support from donors to the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign, the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and MetLife Foundation. For more information about the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, please visit www.HartfordSymphony.Org.
Canadian Pianist Ryosuke Yanagitani to Perform Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto
BEETHOVEN & MENDELSSOHN MAKE SPRINGTIME BLOSSOM AT
THE HARTFORD SYMPHONY