A stunning, sometimes explosive, season ending concert in April offers a double dose of Russian, a German masterwork and ends with a Slavic jewel.
The concert will welcome guest conductor Anton Shaburov (Sha bur ov) from Russia and fittingly he will open the concert with Russian Sailors Dance by Reinhold Gliere from his Ballet Red Poppy of 1926. Gliere was a Soviet era composer whose teachers were Tanayev, Ippolitov-Ivanov and Arensky at the Moscow Conservatory. Gliere’s most famous student was Prokofiev. The work opens with a majestic introduction and ends in a difficult frenzy for musicians and dancers.
Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, one of the great concertos, is dedicated to the love of his life, Clara Wieck Schumann, his wife who was the greatest female pianist of the century and who performed the premier on January 1, 1846. Soloist will be Melanie Chae, making a return appearance.
The Concerto is in the expected three movement form; a highly developed first, slow second and rousing finale third.
Movement I is in Sonata allegro form which I have explained numerous times. The opening ritornello in the orchestra displays the opening eight measure theme that sounds like two four-measure themes. Marked Allegro for the introduction and exposition and after arriving at the development the meter slows only to speed up to the ending. There are numerous key changes and the piano is very expressive. The cadenza is composed, is very musical and is not intended to be virtuostic. Movement II is slow and short, only four and a half minutes and consists mostly of dialogue between soloist and strings. Movement III is not the usual rondo but is also in sonata form. Solo piano opens in A major in this showpiece movement. Schumann includes key and meter alterations, a fugato and a lengthy coda ending.
Closing both the concert and the season will be Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7 in D minor, a truly major work. Not as Slavic as symphonies 6 and 8, it is an imposing mighty work influenced by Brahms. Marked Allegro maestoso, Movement I is his most complex symphonic movement of all his symphonies. In sonata form, it is dark, highly developed and ends with an unusual pedal point coda.
Slightly slow is Movement II in B flat. The music is complexand conveys an unresolved uneasiness.
A Scherzo Movement III brings relief with two themes and contrasting rhythms along with constant key changes. Finale, Movement IV is marked fast, is again complex but dark. The closing in D major has a feeling of despair.
Concerts will be performed at SaddleBrooke on Saturday, April 22 in DesertView Performing Arts Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. and at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Oro Valley at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 23.
Go to wwwsassomusic.org for information about the orchestra and soloists.