The National Repertory Orchestra will present a performance featuring the music of Mendelssohn and Shostakovich at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Saturday, June 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Guest conductor Andrew Litton and the National Repertory Orchestra will present a riveting concert program featuring Felix Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin in E minor, Opus 64, with NRO violinist Stephen Tavani and Dmitry Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Opus 93.
About the music
Like Mozart before him, Mendelssohn was reputed to be a child prodigy. He composed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when he was just 17 years old, but critics say he never quite lived up to his potential. Hans von Bulow, a noted conductor of the early 19th century, was quoted saying that “Mendelssohn began as a genius and ended as a talent.”
His violin concerto was his last major work and undoubtedly contradicts that statement. Mendelssohn said of his own composition, “If I finish this concerto, it will be with no wish of competing with Beethoven.” In this piece, one will hear soaring melodies, romantic lyricism and sorrowful lines emanating from the soloist and his instrument.
The last piece on the program, Symphony No. 10 by Shostakovich, is a powerhouse work written during the Soviet era. Shostakovich himself began as a hero of the Soviet Union but was later denounced for his creation of “anti-people” art. Most of his symphonies were influenced by the struggle of living within the grip of the Soviet Union, and Symphony No. 10 is no exception. Premiered soon after Stalin’s death, it is filled with bleakness, desolation and hardship. The symphony quickly became defined as a commentary on the Soviet dictator and the dark era that had finally passed.
“The majority of my symphonies are tombstones,” Shostakovich said. “Too many of our people died and were buried in places unknown to anyone. … Where do you put the tombstones for Meyerhold and Tukachevsky? Only music can do that for them. I’m willing to write a composition for each of the victims, but that’s impossible, and that’s why I dedicate my music to them all.”
About the musicians
Tavani is serving as co-concertmaster for the 2014 National Repertory Orchestra season and recently completed his undergraduate education in Los Angeles, studying with Robert Lipsett at the Colburn Conservatory of Music. This fall, he will continue to pursue his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying with Ida Kavafian. He has been featured on the “Sunday’s Live” series, broadcast live from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and received the Bronze Medal in the 2011 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Recent solo appearances include the Brentwood Westwood Symphony Orchestra and the American Youth Symphony. Tavani has also served as co-concertmaster of both the Colburn Orchestra and American Youth Symphony for the past two seasons.
Litton, music director of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, artistic director of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest and conductor laureate of Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony, will join the NRO for this concert. Recently, Litton became music director of the Colorado Symphony and guest conducts the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies. He has a discography of more than 120 recordings, with awards including America’s Grammy and France’s Diapason d’Or.
For ticket information and purchase, call the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center Box Office at (970) 547-3100. Ticket purchase may also be made online by visiting the National Repertory Orchestra’s website at www.nromusic.com.
Michelle Lewandowski is the marketing and public relations intern for the National Repertory Orchestra.