The Breckenridge-based National Repertory Orchestra will present a concert titled “Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique” with guest conductor Carl St. Clair tonight at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center. Violin soloist Mary Edge will also be featured on Ernest Chausson’s “Poeme.”
The concert opens with Peter Boyer’s “Festivities,” written in 2011. Boyer, born in 1970, is “one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation, with over 300 public performances of his works by more than 100 orchestras,” said Douglas Adams, CEO of the National Repertory Orchestra.
Next, the NRO will present “Poeme,” by Chausson. The sweeping, rhapsodic piece features Mary Edge as the violin soloist. Edge, 21, recently completed her undergraduate studies at the Juilliard School as a student of Joseph Lin and Sally Thomas. She has held leadership positions in the Juilliard Orchestra and New Juilliard Ensemble and avidly participated in the school’s chamber music program. She has also worked with chamber music students at the Sonoma Music Festival as an invited Young Artist. This fall, Edge plans to return to Juilliard to pursue a Master of Music.
“Chausson’s ‘Poeme’ is a probing, single-movement work for violin and orchestra,” Edge said. “Despite its intensely narrative quality, the work evades programmatic interpretation; its unique expressive power comes directly from the music itself. Imbued with Chausson’s characteristic melancholy and introspection, it traverses emotional extremes with fierce dramatic aptitude.”
Featured in the second half is the first program symphony ever written, Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” Berlioz composed the work in 1830, three years after Beethoven’s death. In five movements, the revolutionary, Romantic-era composer Berlioz tells the story of a hero (a kind of self-portrait of Berlioz) who is in love with a woman who eludes him (who in real life was the actress Harriett Smithson). She is represented by the idee fixe (French for “fixed idea”), a lovelorn melody usually played by the flute, first introduced in first movement and returning several times throughout the symphony.
Guest conductor Carl St. Clair will lead the National Repertory Orchestra in this dynamic concert. Music director of the Pacific Symphony for more than two decades, St. Clair has become widely recognized for his musically distinguished performances, innovative approaches to programming and commitment to outstanding educational programs. The largest ensemble formed in the United States during the last 40 years, Pacific’s rapid artistic development is due largely to St. Clair’s leadership.
St. Clair has been general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle in Weimar, Germany (the first non-European to hold this position), as well as general music director of the Komische Oper in Berlin and principal guest conductor of the SDR/Stuttgart, where he successfully completed a three-year recording project of the complete Villa-Lobos symphonies.
Amy Skjerseth is the marketing and public relations intern with the National Repertory Orchestra.