“Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…”

Conductor Laureate George Hanson

Conductor Laureate George Hanson

Anne Movalson

We hear the above phrase at the beginning of a New Year as the clock strikes midnight or the crystal ball descends in Times Square. Its answer is NO, and the SaddleBrooke Symphony Guild will prove this Saturday, January 9 of the New Year 2016. Conductor Laureate of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, George Hanson, returns to lead the orchestra in two concerts. We will attend the first concert, Moonstruck: Schumann and Schmidt. It will be played in the Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium which is noted for its fine acoustical qualities, but smaller in size than the Music Hall. Performances may sell out, so make your reservations early. Maestro Hanson was Musical Director and Conductor of the TSO for 18 years and much admired. His career has taken him to more than 20 countries, conducting over 100 orchestras and operas on five continents. He will never be forgotten in Tucson!

The concert features two of Schumann’s compositions, Overture to Manfred and Symphony No.1 in B-flat Major (Spring). Robert Schumann’s life was like a roller coaster – tremendous highs and deep frightful lows. He was born in 1810 in Zwickau, Germany, and began composing music at the age of seven. While studying at the University of Leipzig, he fell madly in love with his music professor’s daughter, Clara. Her father vehemently disapproved, so the two could not marry until 1840, when she became 21 and could get a court order allowing the marriage. Clara was his inspiration and she encouraged him to write larger works. Symphony No 1 in B-flat Major, composed in 1841, was based on a poem, Spring, by Adolf Bottger which ends: O turn, O turn and change your course – In the valley spring blooms forth! Depression made him desire the feeling of spring. He finished the entire symphony in one month! His Overture to Manfred is based on Lord Byron’s poem. Its hero is condemned to a life of solitude and suffering and Schumann could identify with these feelings. Sadly, he tried to commit suicide and then asked to be placed in an asylum. Two years later in 1846, he died.

Canadian Heather Schmidt at age 21 became the youngest student ever to receive Doctor’s degrees in both piano performance and composition from the University of Indiana. We will hear the world premiere of her composition, Lunar Reflections, depicting five phases of the moon. The Toronto Star complimented Dr. Schmidt for demonstrating “how new music and easy listening can co-exist.”

The bus departs Desert View Clubhouse at 12:15 p.m. (time for Hanson’s pre-concert chat). After the concert, dinner is at Carrabba’s with entrée choices of Johnny Rocco Salad, Pollo Rosa Maria (chicken), Grilled Salmon and Pork Tenderloin Medallions. All entrees include sides and non-alcoholic beverage. Cost for this event is $89 per person and includes bus, ticket, dinner, tax and tip) or $41 (your own ticket). The cost for Guild membership is $25 a household or $15 for singles. Call Anne Movalson 520-465-5142 or Betty Sackett 825-3993 for reservations.