The National Repertory Orchestra will play the music of Brahms and Sibelius at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Saturday.
Guest conductor James Judd will be on the podium for this concert. Born in Great Britain and considered one of the preeminent interpreters of British orchestral music, Judd’s recording of Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 with the Halle Orchestra is still a highly regarded reference standard among conductors today.
Judd is sought after for his passionate musicianship and his charismatic presence both on and off the podium. Known for his extraordinarily communicative style and bold, imaginative programming, repeat engagements in concert halls from Prague to Tokyo attest to his rapport with audiences and musicians alike. Previous directorships include principal guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille (France), principal guest conductor of the Adelaide Symphony (Australia), eight years as music director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra — where he amassed an extensive discography on the Naxos classical music label — and a groundbreaking 14 years as music director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.
The concert program opens with Edward Elgar’s “Cockaigne (In London Town),” a “lively and colorful piece that is supposed to depict a musical portrait of life in London at the turn of the century,” said Douglas Adams, CEO of the National Repertory Orchestra.
“Cockaigne (In London Town)” will be followed by Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7 in C Major, an unconventional, yet extraordinary, one-movement symphony that is often buried underneath his more popular symphonies: 1, 2 and 5. Sibelius, a national hero of Finland, colored this 20-minute work with many shifts in tempo, texture and mode that will captivate the audience’s attention from beginning to end.
Lin Ma, clarinet, will perform Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra as the first piece after intermission. Ma was the winner of the annual concerto competition, which is held after the musicians’ arrival in Breckenridge. The winner performs a movement of a concerto during the season. Born in Heng Yang, China, Lin is finishing his master of music degree at Rice University, studying with Richie Hawley. For his bachelor’s degree, he studied with Richard Hawkins at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He played principal clarinet on Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra’s tour to China and Singapore, and he has also performed at the Kennedy Center.
Brahms’ Third Symphony, written in 1883, is the shortest of the four he composed in his lifetime, taking about 33 minutes to perform. Between the Second and Third symphonies, Brahms composed some of his best works, including the Violin Concerto, the Tragic and Academic Festival overtures and the Second Piano Concerto. Yet the Third Symphony is considered one of his greatest works and, at its premiere, was measured up to Beethoven’s “Eroica Symphony” (No. 3) by legendary conductor Hans Richter.
The NRO’s performance of Brahms’ Third Symphony is made possible by Joyce Ball’s generous music gift to the National Repertory Orchestra library. The NRO also appreciates the support of the concert sponsors Pat and Jack Thomas and Downstairs at Eric’s.
Amy Skjerseth is the marketing and public relations intern with the National Repertory Orchestra.