BSO & Beethoven – Concert Preview No. 1

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the first of the “Musings” for the “BSO & Beethoven” concert that will be performed on Sunday, November 20, 2016.

Overture to William Tell

Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)

RossiniIt would fairly easy to argue that being able to essentially retire in your mid-thirties a millionaire and a household name is definitive of one’s professional success but that is precisely what the composer of the opera William Tell did. Born the son of a trumpet player in Pesaro, Italy, Rossini grew to be someone who lived to the fullest in many ways including making it to then the then-ripe old age of 76!

His early studies in music included learning the horn under his father and other instruments under the instruction of local priests. By the time he began more formal studies in the city of Bologna, to where the family had relocated, he was ready to receive vocal instruction and the requisite keyboard studies he would need. By 1806 he was accepted to the Liceo Musicale. His musical career truly had an ideal trajectory from that point. From his first opera, La Cambiale di Matrimonio to his final, William Tell, his rise was meteoric as he became the standard for simple and also florid, ornate melodies that challenged the singers of the day to expand their vocal technique in order to sing his music.

While his retirement was figurative rather than literal, he did some composing of non-operatic music including choral works, solo pieces, and chamber music. He enjoyed a vivacious social life and was something of a chef, creating recipes that were enjoyed by gourmands the most famous of which is Tournedos Rossini.

Mozart ColorWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and his violin concerti

The name “Mozart” is one of those that is synonymous with great music. This comes with good reason as he was from the start a genius able to compose from the age of 5. He studied piano and violin and used these as conduits for his art writing over 600 works for varied combinations of musicians. Understand that many of these works were multi-movement in nature. Therefore, like J.S. Bach., Mozart’s output numbered in the thousands!

In specific regard to his violin-playing abilities, his father, Leopold, encouraged his teen-aged son to add more spirit and fire and play as though he were the greatest in all of Europe. Whether he did or didn’t remains to be seen. Nevertheless, his legacy includes five concerti for violin, the final three of which are the most popular of the set. He wrote the last four of the five in one astonishing year (1775) of composing. This, of course, is in addition to everything else he wrote that year.

The Fourth Concerto in D major has a spritely opening theme that has the characteristics of a trumpet fanfare. Leopold had tried in vain to get young Wolfgang to like the sound of the trumpet and perhaps this is a humorous reference to that lifelong disdain using an instrument he did love. The remaining themes are optimistic and exemplary of the charm we associate with Mozart’s writing.

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “BSO & Beethoven” featuring BSO Concertmaster Michael Sutton, who will play-conduct the Mozart Violin Concerto. The concert takes place on Sunday, November 20, 2016, at 3 p.m., at the Schneider Theater in Bloomington’s Center for the Ar.

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 952-563-8575.

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“The Passion of Rachmaninoff” Concert Preview No. 2

This “Concert Preview” will provide background information on the pieces the BSO will perform next. Each Concert Preview is written by the BSO’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. Look for the next Concert Preview on February 10.

Concerto for Violin in A Major, “The Turkish” by Wolfgang Amade Mozart

Mozart 1777Mozart - 1777Mozart - 1777Mozart ColorThe year 1775 was a productive one for the 19 year-old Joannes Chrisostumus Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart, at least as far as writing violin concerti is concerned. He had written his first a few years earlier and for reasons that are still unclear wrote the flurry of four that year. After having written his first in Bb major he settled on D major twice, G major, and finally A major for this fifth and final concerto.

While this concerto is nicknamed “The Turkish” it could have gone by several names as there are many structural surprises within. First, it is unique in its first movement form. After the orchestra bursts forth with the Allegro Aperto that begins the first movement, the listener may be a bit stunned to hear the orchestra come to a halt and have the solo violin begin its entrance with a ballad-like Adagio! This daydream is over shortly and the listener is, once again, surprised to hear a theme from the solo violin that has yet to be heard unlike most concerti of the classical period which warm up your ears by having the orchestra play the theme before the soloist enters. In fact, what you hear is the accompaniment without the solo voice on top. In a way, it is reminiscent of Mozart’s overture to his opera The Marriage of Figaro which uses not a single theme from the actual opera. Imagine the audacious brilliance of having so much music in your head that you can afford to just throw themes away without the worry that you may be using up your reserve!

The other surprise is that this concerto could have just as easily been named “Symphony for Violin.” Typically, classical concerti are three movements long in a fast-slow-fast format. This one follows suit but with a twist. After the second movement Adagio we are treated to a lovely Tempo di Menuetto just as one would expect from a typical classical… symphony! As the violin dances in 3/4 time throwing in a flirtatious cadenza here and there we are, as we were in the first movement, interrupted by an unexpected Allegro this time. This Allegro is given the “Turkish” treatment. That is to say that the Austrian fascination with the exotic qualities of the Ottoman Empire reveals itself in a fast pulse and the request from Mozart to have the cellos and basses turn their bows over and strike the strings with the wood part as well as the horse hair. This percussive sound and the brusque trills from our soloist give a foot-stomping dance quality to the music. This foray into the exotic is temporary as the orchestra returns to our elegant Minuet for an ending that closes the door on our concerto as one would the door to a child’s room after having read an exciting story before being tucked into bed.

Concertmaster Rebecca CorrucciniThe Bloomington Symphony’s own concertmaster, Rebecca Corruccini (pictured, left), will be the featured soloist on this concerto. Please join us for this concert, “The Passion of Rachmaninoff,” on Sunday, February 16 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To purchase tickets in advance, please visit our online box office here. Tickets are always available at the door.

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The Passion of Rachmaninoff

Concertmaster Rebecca Corruccini

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra invites you to an afternoon of great music on Sunday, February 16 at 3 p.m. The concert begins with Wagner’s Overture to Rienzi, followed by Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, performed by our concertmaster, Rebecca Corruccini. The program concludes with Symphony No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Maestro Manny Laureano thinks that the second movement is so romantic, you might want to bring a date! Wrap up your Valentine’s weekend with a concert of beautiful music. Ticket information can be found here.

Keep an eye on this page for Manny’s Musings, a preview of the concert music.

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2013-14 Season Announced!

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s newly appointed Artistic Director and Conductor Manny Laureano has put together his first season of programs for the BSO. The season promises to be a celebration of firsts, as the conductor and musicians begin a new era of making music together.

The BSO begins it’s 51st season on Sunday, October 6 with a concert called “Let Us Begin.” This concert will feature Shostakovich’s first opus, a Scherzo in f# minor, followed by Mendelssohn’s first piano concerto performed by Susan Billmeyer, the Minnesota Orchestra’s keyboard player. Brahms’ First Symphony completes this concert of “firsts.”

The BSO’s fourth annual concert at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, this year on Sunday, November 24, is entitled “Sit Right Back and You’ll Hear the Tale.” This concert includes programmatic pieces including Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor, as well as the Polovetsian Dances from the same opera. The concert will end with Rimsky-Korsakov’s musical tale of Scheherazade.

On Sunday, February 16, 2014, the BSO will celebrate “The Passion of Rachmaninoff,” with a concert program of Wagner’s Overture to Rienzi, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major and concluding with Rachmaninoff’s passionate Symphony No. 2. The BSO’s concertmaster, Rebecca Corruccini will make her annual solo appearance at this concert.

The BSO will conclude its 2013-14 season with “Music in 3D,” a nod to the imagination that music inspires. “Music in 3D” includes Death and Transfiguration by Strauss, The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius and Respighi’s well-known piece, The Pines of Rome. This concert will also feature a performance by the grand prize winner of MNSOTA’s Mary West Solo Competition.

Season and single concert tickets are now available online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 962-563-8575. Tickets are always available for purchase at the door. Single concert tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors. Discounted season tickets are $48 for adults and $40 for seniors. Students with a valid ID are admitted free, thanks to our generous sponsors.

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