National Repertory Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 | SummitDaily.com

National Repertory Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6

Benjamin Paul
Special to the Daily

On Saturday, June 20, the National Repertory Orchestra and guest conductor Tito Munoz will present Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in concert, along with works by Mozart, Saint-Saens and Ravel.

Munoz is the first of four guest conductors who will be working with NRO musicians over the course of the summer season. He has conducted major orchestras across the United States and internationally and is currently the music director for the Phoenix Symphony.

The evening begins with a performance of Mozart's Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro." The opera, one of the most performed worldwide, is considered to be one of Mozart's finest achievements. The overture's fast tempo and playful motives set the stage for some of opera's most memorable comic characters.

"Written in 1786, the Overture to 'The Marriage of Figaro' has remained one of the most popular overtures in the symphonic repertoire," said Doug Adams, the CEO of the NRO. "It is also one of the most difficult to play."

The program jumps from Classical grandeur to Cuban dance with Camille Saint-Saens' "Havanaise." Saint-Saens, a French composer, wrote the piece in 1887 for the Cuban violin virtuoso Rafael Díaz Albertini. The violin showpiece is built upon the accented beats of habanera, a dance born from traditional African rhythms that was enjoying a renaissance in Cuba at the time of the piece's composition.

"For me, the 'Havanaise' is a love story told through the habanera dance rhythm, which evokes at once a feeling of passionate seduction, as well as a profound nostalgia," said Oliver Kot, who will perform the solo part for violin.

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Kot holds music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Julliard School; in the fall, he will begin playing with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra as the principal second violinist.

Maurice Ravel's "La Valse" also has meaning that goes far beyond the dance for which it is named. Conceived of as an orchestral poem paying homage to Vienna and the form of the waltz, the French composer's 1920 work captures the European mindset of the time. The waltzing music, as apt a symbol as any for Europe's Old World heyday, evokes a nostalgic and rose-colored past while Ravel's modern tribute casts a cautious eye toward the hopes and dangers of the new century.

The centerpiece of the program is Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, better known as the "Pathetique" for its music's emotional power. The first movement blends tense, plaintive themes with beautiful melodies and emotional release; this musical feeling resonates intuitively with the audience, a master class in the Romantic musical language that has since become the primary tool of today's greatest film composers.

The second movement balances the intensity of the opening with a cheery, dance-like main theme, while the third movement is raucous and triumphant. In many symphonies, this victorious music would be reserved for the final movement. Tchaikovsky, however, is less concerned with traditional narrative than he is in depicting emotional feeling as it is felt in its most heightened sense. The fourth and final movement is by turns serene and longing, a fitting resolution to a symphony that was the swan song and last great masterpiece of the famed Russian composer.

This evening's performances are being held in memory of Patrick Edward Coleman, and the NRO's sponsors for the concert are Joan Manley Houlton, Laurie and William Bolthouse, Rick Poppe and Jana Edwards.

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.

If you go

What: National Repertory Orchestra performs “Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6,” featuring guest conductor Tito Munoz

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20

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

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

Program: Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro,” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “Havanaise,” by Camille Saint-Saens; “La Valse,” by Maurice Ravel; Symphony No. 6, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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