SASO new season opening concert

Punch Howarth

Before presenting the preview of the opening concert of the 2014-15 SASO season, this writer would like to explain the absence of SASO articles this summer. I have had several health problems and was hospitalized. Hopefully this is behind me and I am back.

Conductor Linus Lerner, with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, will open the new 2014-2015 season with a program featuring a classical concerto, romantic march and rousing modern suite. Opening the program will be Rakoczy March by Hector Berlioz. This work is based upon a Hungarian march composed in 1846 which received a great response in a concert in Budapest. In composing his Opera Damnation of Faust later, Berlioz rescored the work as Rakoczy March and placed it at the end of Act I as the Hungarian Army marches by.

Following will be Mozart’s greatest Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major also known popularly as the Elvira Madigan Concerto. In 1967 a Swedish film Elvira Madigan, a sad story about a Danish tightrope dancer and a Swedish Army deserter, played the Art Theaters and was a big success. The music in the movie was the second movement of Piano Concerto No. 21 of Mozart. Performed by Geza Anda, it became a pop hit. Anda’s recording might still be available on CD. I tried to find a copy of the film, but it has never been released; however, I did get to see it twice.

The concerto’s first movement is marked allegro maestoso and is in 4/4 time. The music opens with a soft march transitioning into a song-like melody as an orchestra ritornello. The soloist follows with a short eingang (an imitation cadenza). The form is a Haydn sonata structure with themes, development, recapitulation and the keys are tonic C and dominant G. Movement II is a somber Andante in F and is the theme used in Elvira Madigan. In three parts, it opens with orchestra ritornello of the main theme played by violins with repeated triplets and pizzicato arpeggios underneath in F.

The soloist starts Part Two in F but explores many other keys. The main theme signals Part Three but in C major and minor, eventually returning to the home key of F with a short coda ending. Movement III, a rondo, is very fast in 2/4 time. The music is happy and exuberant with the soloist playing scales and arpeggios, dressing up the themes. There is a short cadenza leading to a bevy of scales for a bright ending. Piano soloist will be Sandra Wright Shen.

Ending the program will be the Concert Suite, The Planets by Gustav Holst which will be reviewed later. The opening program will be performed on Saturday, October 4 at DesertView Performing Arts Auditorium in SaddleBrooke at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, October 5 in Oro Valley at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 3:00 p.m. For tickets and other information go to