The Spokane Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Eckart Preu will – metaphorically at least – visit Spain for this weekend’s pair of concerts.
The orchestra will tackle works either by Spanish composers or based on Spanish themes: Ritmo Jondo (Flamenco) by Carlos Surinach; “Ritual Fire Dance” by Manuel de Falla; Concerto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo; Variaciones concertantes, op. 23 by Alberto Ginastera; and Capriccio espagnol, op. 34 by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov.
International guitar sensation Jason Vieaux will join the symphony in Concerto de Aranjuez.
In a telephone interview Vieaux, said “this is a very emotional work; it has highs and lows to transport the listener.”
“The second movement is the most popular and has been used by such musicians as Miles Davis, Chick Correa and Led Zeppelin,” he said.
Gramophone magazine called Vieaux “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists.” He is head of the guitar department at the Cleveland Institute of Music and performs all over the world. He has performed with Preu and the Stamford (Conn.) Symphony Orchestra.
Paul Grove, professor of guitar at Gonzaga University, said in an email that this work “is deeply emotional music to play and listen to.”
The concerto’s premiere in 1940 brought Rodrigo (1901–’99) world recognition. It is his best-known work. The three traditional movements highlight the musical dialogue between soloist and ensemble, especially in the second movement.
Surinach (1915-’97) composed Ritmo Jondo in 1952. Its three movements capture the flavor of Spanish life with ethnic rhythms that punctuate Surinach’s original melodies.
“Ritual Fire Dance” by Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) is from his ballet “El Amor Brujo” (“Love the Magician”), written in 1915. This orchestral chestnut has been transcribed for numerous combinations of instruments by the composer and others.
Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera (1916 – 1983) composed Variaciones concertantes, Op. 23 in 1953. According to notes provided by the Spokane Symphony it “is a true concerto for orchestra.” The composer is said to have remarked that “The work has a subjective Argentine character. Instead of employing folklore material, an Argentine atmosphere is obtained by the use of original melodies and rhythms.”
The piece is a theme and 11 variations for different combinations of instruments. Each variation has a subtitle: Cheerful Variation for Flute, Pastoral Variation for Horn, and so on. The last movement is called Final Variation in the Manner of a Rondo for Orchestra.
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was the most eminent representative of Russian music in the 19th century. As a teacher he influenced generations of Russian composers such as Alexander Glazunov, Anton Arensky, Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev. Rimsky-Korsakov was fond of “ethnic” pieces and wrote music that reflected Italian, Spanish, Russian and Central Asiatic moods.
His Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34 is in five movements and depicts various times of the day and scenes from Spanish life. It was first conceived as a duet for violin and piano. In 1887 he changed direction; he revised and orchestrated the work as it stands today. It is a favorite of orchestra players because of its many featured solo passages.