. Interchanging Idioms: Conductor Juanjo Mena Leads Pianist Louis Lortie and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Schumann’s Piano Concerto, May 13—15

Monday, April 26, 2010

Conductor Juanjo Mena Leads Pianist Louis Lortie and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Schumann’s Piano Concerto, May 13—15

Program also includes Romantic works by Brahms and Strauss

Spanish Conductor Juanjo Mena will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a program celebrating the Romantic Era on Thursday, May 13 at 8 p.m. and Friday, May 14 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, May 15 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. The BSO will perform Schumann’s Piano Concerto featuring internationally acclaimed pianist Louis Lortie, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan.

Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor features celebrated pianist Louis Lortie, who London’s Daily Telegraph praises as “one of the half a dozen pianists worth dropping everything to hear” and who is known for his interpretations of Romantic piano repertoire. The first movement’s lilting melody illustrates Schumann’s abiding love for his wife Clara Wieck Schumann. The joyfulness continues into the second movement, despite being written four years after the first movement and following Schumann’s period of serious mental illness.

While most of his works were composed while in the serenity of rural Germany, Brahms chose to write his Third Symphony in a sheltered studio in the German city of Wiesbaden. He could not bear to leave the city that inspired him to write the piece nor could he abandon his new love Hermine Spies. Symphony No. 3 relies on the F, A-flat, F three-chord pattern to represent Brahms own personal motto—frei aber froh, meaning “free but glad.” The piece emphasizes the melodic clarinet and bassoon, and in the last movement, the two unite in a dramatic duet adding a serene element to a feverishly passionate performance.

Richard Strauss’ tone poem Don Juan premiered in Germany in 1988 and is regarded as the inception of his legendary career. Just before writing the piece, Strauss had fallen in love with soprano Pauline de Ahna. Feeling overwhelmed with romance, he consulted German poet Nikolaus Lenau’s poem “Don Juan,” that tells the infamous story of Don Juan’s search for female companionship and his antagonism towards anyone hindering his quest. While at first he is full of boldness and enthusiasm in his never-ending pursuit of new loves, his determination weakens after losing a duel against the wrath of one young woman’s father.

COMPLETE CONCERT DETAILS
Classical Concert: Three Romantics
Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Friday, May 14, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore

Juanjo Mena, conductor
Louis Lortie, piano

R. Strauss: Don Juan
Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor
Brahms: Symphony No. 3

Tickets for these performances range from $25 to $80 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

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