2019-20 Orchestra Concerts

At the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

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Beethoven to Tap Shoes
Inspired by Dance Around the World

October 20, 2019 at 2 PM
Musical Instrument Museum

  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 “The Apotheosis of the Dance” (1813)
  • Morton Gould: Tap Dance Concerto (1952), Jenefer Miller, soloist
  • Peggy Glanville-Hicks: Sinfonia da Pacifica (1952)
  • Aiyana Braun, MusicaNova Composition Fellow: Practical Water (2019) Arizona Premiere

No less than Richard Wagner called Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 “the apotheosis of the dance” for its energetic and engaging rhythms (though conductor Sir Thomas Beecham said “It’s like a lot of yaks jumping about”), while American Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto features a master tapper as soloist with a symphony orchestra. The extraordinary Sinfonia da Pacifica of Australia’s Peggy Glanville-Hicks melds dances from Pacific Rim countries into an exotic mix of rhythms and sounds and MNO Composition Fellow Aiyana Braun’s Practical Water was inspired by water dancing in a creek.

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Rhineland Muses
Journeys in Romantic Music

January 12, 2020 at 2 PM
Musical Instrument Museum

  • Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 97 “Rhenish” (1850)
  • Eugen D’Albert: Cello Concerto in C Major, Op. 20 (1899), Peter Eom, soloist
  • Sam Wu, MusicaNova Composition Fellow: The Building of a City (2019) Arizona Premiere

Viking River Cruises has nothing on Robert Schumann, whose 1849 trip through the Rhineland with wife Clara that “felt like a pilgrimage” as they traveled through the castle-bedecked countryside, inspired his Rhenish Symphony.  Eugen D’Albert, a much-traveled cosmopolitan son of Italian and French parents, was born in Scotland, brought up in England, lived most of his life in Germany, and died in Latvia, where he’d gone to divorce his sixth wife.  He was inspired to write his remarkable Cello Concerto by Schumann’s eponymous work that was composed at the same time as his Rhenish Symphony.

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The Mannheim Phenomenon
Centuries of String Orchestra Sound

May 10, 2020 at 2 PM
Musical Instrument Museum

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Symphony in B Minor, 182/5 (1773)
  • Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileras No. 9 (1945)
  • Ottorino Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances, Third Suite (1932)
  • Quinn Mason, MusicaNova Composition Fellow: Irish Dance Suite (2019) Arizona Premiere

The String Orchestra concept first arose as an explosive sensation steamrolling out of Mannheim, Germany in the 1740s, and has been a staple of the concert repertoire ever since.  Composers range from CPE Bach (who was inspired by hearing the original Mannheim String Orchestra), to Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos, whose exotic Bachianas Brasileras manage to sound both like his country’s folk music and Bach at the same time, to Italian Ottorino Respighi, who ties together the centuries by bringing Renaissance music for lute and guitar up to date with a twentieth-century treatment of these old songs and dances.

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Performing in Scottsdale

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Music With a Voice
Heroic Figures and Everyday People

March 29, 2020 at 2 PM
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

  • Mayumi Kimura Meguro: Hana o Tobashite
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Coriolan Overture
  • Franz Schreker: Ekkehard Overture
  • Paul Hindemith: Mathis der Maler Symphony
  • Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1
    Sharon Hui, soloist

MusicaNova Composition Fellow Maumi Kimura Meguro’s haunting Hana o Tobashite, premiered by the orchestra in March, 2019, was inspired by her grandmother’s experience as survivor of a firebombing in WWII Japan, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, tells of a violent revenge quelled by a mother’s plea for mercy. Arizona Piano Institute Concerto Competition winner Sharon Hui makes her début with the orchestra in Felix Mendelssohn’s beautiful Piano Concerto No. 1. Glorious works by Paul Hindemith and Franz Schreker celebrate and assert the artist’s independent spirit in the face of oppression – and were suppressed as degenerate under a brutal Fascist regime.

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Stabat Mater
Reflections on Holy Week

Palm Sunday
April 5, 2020 at 3 PM

Scottsdale Presbyterian Church

Free Admission
Suggested Donation of $10 Per Adult
Pre-Concert Discussion at 2 PM 

  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Stabat Mater
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden

Melissa Solomon and Claire Penneau, soloists

  • Franz Josef Haydn: Symphony No. 49 “La Passione”

One of the most popular Baroque composers, Pergolesi’s enduring work for soprano and alto soloists and chamber orchestra is based on the Stabat Maters sequence, a 13th Century hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The opening of the Latin text, “Stabat mater, dolorosa,” or “the sorrowful mother was standing,” began a portrayal in 20 terzets of the suffering of Christ’s mother on Good Friday as she watched her son’s crucifixion on Golgotha.  The hymn has inspired scores of composers, from the time of its origin to the present day, including Francis Poulenc, Aarvo Pärt, and James MacMillan.  Bach’s recasting of Pergolesi’s version as a cantata keeps the same voice parts, with a richer orchestration, and text based on the German Psalm 51 (“Cancel, Highest, my sins”).  Haydn’s symphony, with its theatrical origin, softens the mood.

The performance will feature interplay between Pergolesi’s and Bach’s settings. The twelve movements, each comprising one or more verses of the Stabat Mater sequence, will be sung in order, but will alternate between composers.  Movements from Pergolesi will be sung in Latin, those from Bach, in German.

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Programs are subject to update and change without notice.

MusicaNova Orchestra Concerts are supported by grants from the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Gannett Foundation, and Tempe Arts Grants.

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