Of Birds and Beasts is an exciting program that highlights the animal kingdom in music. Vaughn Williams originally composed his Lark Ascending for violin and piano in 1914 and then later orchestrated this stunning work. As a traditionalist, he always had one foot firmly rooted in the past, using old English tunes and forms to guide his work and to create a sense of nostalgia. Ravel would say of him: “the only one of my pupils who does not write my music.”
The Overture to the opera La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) was immediately hailed as a masterpiece at its premiere; the audience shouted “Bravo, Maestro!” for five minutes prohibiting the performance from starting.
The impresario Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes made a specialty of dancing pieces that were inspired by Russian folklore, primeval Russian history being a cultural obsession of the moment, and the story of The Firebird was perfect for the company. However, four composers turned down the opportunity to compose the piece and Diaghilev was frantic. At the same time, Stravinsky was eager to try his hand at a ballet score, and history was made. Agosti was a close friend of Stravinsky and the composer allowed the pianist to transcribe the last three movements into a virtuoso piano composition that captures the colors of the entire orchestra.
Saint-Saëns composed Carnival of the Animals in just a few days in February 1886 as a surprise for his friends. He never published the work, as he thought the work was too frivolous and would damage his reputation. The first public performance took place in 1922, only two months after Saint-Saëns died, and it gained immediate popularity. The Festival performance will include the full ensemble of instruments and narration. 9 Please note that this concert is not appropriate for children under the age of six, and that Festival policies apply.
Artists: Alexey Shabalin (Violin), Eliot Porter (Bass), Goran Marcusson (Flute), Jacqueline Choi (Cello), Joe DeMarco (Percussion), Kristhyan Benitez (Piano), Kristian Baverstam (Clarinet), Mark Berger (Viola), Mina Lavcheva (Violin), Suzanna Laramee (Piano), Trevor Neal (Baritone)