As the leaves begin to consider changing color and the temperatures contemplate adjusting downward, Symphony Joslyn comes to life again this month in a genial concert.
Beethoven’s 4th Symphony gets top billing. The least-frequently-heard of his nine has charmed hearers over and over with its many tender moments, humorous passages, song-like elements and energetic rhythms. Coming after the stunning, landmark Eroica and before the unforgettable 5th Symphony, this one was described by Robert Schumann as “a slender Grecian maiden between two Nordic giants.” And Berlioz was so moved by the second movement that he described it as the work of the Archangel Michael, not of a human.
Speaking of Angels, the concert also features The Passion of Angels a two-harp concerto by Marjan Mozetich, a Canadian composer born in Gorizia, Italy, to Slovenian parents. He wrote it in 1995 when he was in his mid-40s, newly dedicating himself to “lyricism, rich romantic harmonies, and moto perpetuo rhythms,” commented Historica Canada. Mozetich has also been influenced by minimalism.
Since the 1990s, Mozetich’s compositions have continued to be works “with introspective and meditative qualities,” also according to Historica Canada. The composer himself has said that he found it very encouraging that audiences were “so eager for spiritual – not technical – music." And Toronto’s Wholenote Magazine said that he’s developed a style “that may best be described as ‘lush.’” http://www.mozetich.com/
The soloists are Omaha Symphony principal harpist Mary Bircher and Omaha’s Kathleen Wychulis, principal harpist of the Lincoln Symphony and Boulder Philharmonic.
An equally audience-friendly work on the program, likewise performed by Symphony members, is Francis Poulenc’s 1935 Suite Française. The neo-baroque composition is full of dances based on those of his 17th Century countryman Claude Gervaise suggesting an “atmosphere of a Renaissance festival, a kind of French Pulcinella,” observed Music Web International. Adding, “It brings to mind feasts, tournaments and stately court dances, …a happy marriage of the two eras.” And The New York Times called it “exquisitely subtle music in gaudy trappings.”
Making the most and best of these delights, Music Director Thomas Wilkins is on the podium. FYI, five days later, he conducts the Symphony in more Beethoven, the Symphony No. 7 at the Holland Center.
This Omaha Symphony Orchestra Symphony Joslyn concert is Sept. 18. Joslyn Art Museum’s Witherspoon Hall, 2200 Dodge St. Sun. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. www.omahasymphony.org