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National Repertory Orchestra presents Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in Breckenridge

Benjamin Paul
Special to the Daily
On Wednesday, July 15, the National Repertory Orchestra and conductor Stefano Sarzani will present Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in concert, along with musical selections spanning three centuries of the classical repertoire.
Tasha Hoskins / National Repertory Orchestra |

If you go

What: National Repertory Orchestra performs Mozart’s Symphony No. 40

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 15

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Tickets are $25 to $40, or $7 for youth 18 and younger

Program: Overture to “La Cenerentola,” by Gioachino Rossini; Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor, by Antonio Vivaldi; Theme and Variations for Viola and Orchestra, by Alan Shulman; Suite from “Ma mere l’Oye (Mother Goose),” by Maurice Ravel; Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

More information: Call (970) 547-3100, or visit http://www.nromusic.com

On Wednesday, July 15, the National Repertory Orchestra and conductor Stefano Sarzani will present Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in concert, along with musical selections spanning three centuries of the classical repertoire.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is widely known for his musical genius and the pellucid, melodic style that defined music’s Classical period. Yet in his later works, particularly his final three symphonies, Mozart began experimenting with emotionally expressive techniques that would foreshadow the next century of musical composition. Music historians mourn his early death, seeing traces in his mature works of a new, revolutionary style.

Mozart’s 1788 Symphony No. 40 is the penultimate of the composer’s great mature symphonies. As one of only two symphonies that Mozart wrote in a minor key, it is possibly the greatest example of his expressive late style. While Mozart’s charm and melodic craftsmanship are still on full display, the symphony also contains dramatic contrast and bold key changes that can be heard as the first notes of musical Romanticism. When Beethoven wrote his iconic Fifth Symphony, perhaps the defining example of a transcendent personal statement in music, he is thought to have looked at the finale of Symphony No. 40 for inspiration.

With such an influential moment as its centerpiece, it is fitting that the NRO’s program contains music from several centuries of composition. The evening will begin with a performance of Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to “La Cenerentola,” an 1817 opera adaptation of the classic Cinderella tale. Rossini was one of the first great operatic composers, and “Cenerentola” is considered to be among his finest works.

“‘La Cenerentola Overture’ is everything an opera overture should be: bright, lively and setting the emotional mood for what is to follow,” said Doug Adams, CEO of the NRO.

Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor, written in the 1720s, provides a showcase for two of the NRO’s talented cellists: assistant principal cellist Blake-Anthony Johnson and Matthew Shin, the winner of the orchestra’s solo cello competition. Accompanied by string orchestra, the two soloists alternatively perform together as a duo and exchange virtuosic solo passages in dialogue.

“This piece is extremely conversational, and my goal in this particular piece is to show how versatile the musical language of Vivaldi can be,” Johnson said. “This piece was written almost 300 years ago, and yet it is just as relatable to the average person now as any song that can be heard on the radio today.”

Johnson started playing the cello at the age of 12 and was self-taught until the age of 18. He is currently continuing his studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Shin is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cello performance at the University of Cincinnati.

The program jumps ahead more than two centuries with American composer Alan Shulman’s 1940 Theme and Variations for Viola and Orchestra. The piece uses the variations form to explore the range and technical capabilities of the viola. Molly Goldman, the NRO’s principal violist, will be featured as a soloist. Goldman is currently pursuing a graduate degree from the Juilliard School.

“I’m excited to be performing the Shulman because it is so rarely performed, and I am an advocate for promoting repertoire that was actually written for the viola,” Goldman said.

The evening will also include a performance of Maurice Ravel’s Suite from “Ma mere l’Oye (Mother Goose).” Along with Claude Debussy, Ravel is one of the most important figures in the movement of musical French impressionism that took place around the turn of the 20th century. In this 1911 work, the composer takes episodes from the famous collection of children’s tales as inspiration for a series of orchestral ballet episodes.

Robin Hadley, Blue River Bistro and Ski Village Resorts are the NRO’s sponsors for this concert. The event is also the NRO’s volunteer and corporate recognition concert. For tickets and more information, call (970) 547-3100 or visit http://www.nromusic.com.

Benjamin Paul is the marketing and public relations intern for the National Repertory Orchestra.


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