The National Repertory Orchestra has planned a special performance Saturday, featuring guest conductor Danail Rachev and violinist Hugh Palmer on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.” The program also includes the music of Ravel and Mozart; the latter composer’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-Flat Major will feature NRO woodwind soloists Gina Ford, Samuel Marques, Danielle Osbun and Joshua Horne.
The concert program opens with Maurice Ravel’s seldom-heard “Alborada Del Gracioso,” translated as “Morning Song of a Jester.” Written in 1918, the eight-minute piece was originally composed for keyboard, but Ravel soon wrote a version to be performed by orchestra. Ravel’s pupil, confidant and biographer Alexis Roland-Manuel characterized the piece as one “in which the dry and biting virtuosity is contrasted, Spanish-wise, with the swooning flow of the lovelorn melodic line which interrupts the angry buzzing of guitars.”
A musical piece of
Following “Alborada Del Gracioso,” the NRO will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s delightful Sinfonia Concertante in E-Flat Major, K.297B. The cheerful mixture of a symphony and a concerto features NRO wind players Gina Ford, Samuel Marques, Danielle Osbun and Joshua Horne on the solo oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn parts, respectively.
“The authenticity of Sinfonia Concertante has been a subject of debate for years,” said Douglas Adams, CEO of the National Repertory Orchestra. “There is no absolute evidence that it was written by Mozart. He did compose a piece for flute, oboe, horn, bassoon and orchestra, but that score has been lost. We know about it because Mozart mentioned it in his letters. Whether this piece — written for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and orchestra — is related or even written by Mozart is in dispute. What is not in dispute is the fact that this is a very fine piece, showcasing the winds of the orchestra.”
For the second half, the NRO will perform the symphonic suite “Scheherazade,” one of the most popular orchestral works in the standard repertoire. In four movements, Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov tells the musical story of “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.”
“The Sultan Schariar, convinced that all women are false and faithless, vowed to put to death each of his wives after the first nuptial night,” Rimsky-Korsakov wrote in the introduction to his score. “But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by entertaining her lord with fascinating tales, told seriatim, for 1,001 nights. The Sultan, consumed with curiosity, postponed from day to day the execution of his wife and finally repudiated his bloody vow entirely.”
This vividly colorful piece features a violin solo as the voice of Scheherazade, which will be played by Palmer.
Heralded by critics as “a musician of real depth, sensitivity and authority,” guest conductor Rachev is currently in his fourth season as music director of the Eugene Symphony. In addition to Rachev’s worldwide engagements, he has conducted the Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Nashville Symphony and The Philadelphia Orchestra, among others.
Rachev has collaborated with such celebrated soloists as Emanuel Ax, Sarah Chang, Angela Hewitt, Midori, Garrick Ohlsson, Itzhak Perlman and Andre Watts.
Amy Skjerseth is the marketing and public relations intern with the National Repertory Orchestra.