Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Presents CONCERTOS FOR ORCHESTRA Tonight
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presents Concertos for Orchestra tonight and tomorrow, October 4-5, 2013 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Guest conductor Asher Fisch leads Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, the overture to Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, and Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major featuring Principal Clarinet Todd Levy.
Both concerts include Meet the Music, an interactive pre-concert discussion beginning one hour prior to concert start time, held in Uihlein Hall on Friday and in the Anello Atrium on Saturday. Friday's performance also offers a pre-concert fashion show in the Bradley Pavilion at 10:15 a.m. Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer was completed in 1841 and inspired by Wagner's journey as he escaped Latvia and traveled to Norway.
The overture serves as a microcosm of the entire opera, highlighting many of the principal musical themes. The overture begins with the howling winds from the raging sea storm, and a variety of musical material is presented as the overture progresses, from the frolicking dance of the Norwegian sailors to the sentiments that Senta and the Flying Dutchman share. Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 was composed in 1791 and was one of the last works that Mozart composed before his early death. There is some mystery surrounding the origin of the concerto, as its only mention exists in a letter that Mozart wrote to his wife in October 1791, stating he was writing the solo lines for clarinetist Anton Stadler. It is also unknown whether the concerto was originally intended for the basset horn or for the standard clarinet. Though the piece is in the joyful key of A major, the concerto is tinged with bittersweet sadness, leading many to surmise that the composer was aware of his own mortality. Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra was composed in 1943 as a result of a commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Bartók had left his native Hungary for New York in 1940, and a few of his fellow countrymen convinced the music director, Serge Koussevitzky, to offer the commission.
The work's premiere received a rousing ovation and much accolade from Boston's press, which lifted Bartók's spirits. At that time, Koussevitzky called it the "best orchestra piece of the last 25 years."
Fisch is currently principal guest conductor of the Seattle Opera and formerly served as music director of the New Israeli Opera (1998-2008) and the Wiener Volksoper (1995-2000). In September 2013, he took up the baton as principal conductor and artistic adviser of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO). In the 2012.13 season, Mr. Fisch returned to Metropolitan Opera for Parsifal, to Seattle for Fidelio, and had a variety of titles in German opera houses, including Die Zauberflöte, Der fliegende Holländer, Manon Lescaut, Carmen, and Rigoletto. He also performed symphonic programs with the Atlanta and Kansas City symphonies, and in Europe, concerts in Copenhagen, Parma, Bari, Palermo, and Genoa, before returning to Seattle in summer 2013 for its quadrennial complete Wagner Ring Cycle.