The appearance of fall usually brings to me both the feeling of nostalgia as well as great expectation. During the summer, I have the pleasure of traveling and making music with musicians I don’t normally see during the season.
In summers past, I’ve conducted pops concerts on the great outdoor stage of the Britt Classical Festival, led the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in Zlin, Czech Republic, and this past August worked with wonderful young musicians at Seattle’s own Vivace! Chamber Music Camp.
I leave these summer endeavors behind with reluctance, but at the same time I turn toward all of the magical concerts ahead that will fill the stage at Bainbridge Performing Arts. We have great music in store for you this season starting with our Nov. 14 and 15 performances.
These concerts open with a new work, “Luminosity,” by young composer Chris Rogerson. A spritely four minutes, his work unleashes daring virtuosity with remarkable orchestral colors. He employs modest forces but maximizes the orchestra’s sound palette through unique uses of percussion, accompaniment figures and dynamic contrasts.
This work pairs well with Carl Nielsen’s “Third Symphony,” “Sinfonia espansiva,” also on the program. Nielsen’s music has a reputation of always being sunny and optimistic. Although some of his later works, like his “Clarinet Concerto,” can be taunt and austere, music like his “Third Symphony” is indeed flush with merriment.
Nielsen is not well known in the United States but remains Denmark’s most famous composer. Unique to this work is his use of two vocalists, a soprano and a baritone, who add their wordless voices to the beautiful second movement.
To round out the program, a dear friend and colleague, pianist Rick Rowley, joins the orchestra for Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 4” in G major. This is one of those works by Beethoven that both fascinates and moves me deeply.
It is well known that Beethoven struggled not only with his increasing deafness but also with inner demons. To hear a work such as the “Fourth Piano Concerto” then is to be mesmerized by its calm and tranquility.
There is no orchestral introduction prior to the pianist’s entrance nor do tutti chords signal the start of something big. Instead, out of complete stillness, the pianist opens the concerto with one of the most exquisite melodies ever composed. From this magnificent opening begins a journey through the divine.
Come join us this November for these works and more as the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra begins its 43rd season.Wesley Schulz is the music director and conductor of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra.