Milwaukee Symphony Presents ENIGMA VARIATIONS This Weekend

Milwaukee Symphony Presents ENIGMA VARIATIONS This Weekend

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Edo de Waart present Enigma Variations this weekend, May 2-3, 2014 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The program includes Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, Mozart's Symphony No. 38 in D major, "Prague," and Elgar's "Enigma Variations."

Both concerts include Meet the Music, a free, interactive pre-concert discussion, held in Uihlein Hall at 10:15 a.m. on Friday and in Anello Atrium at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. Friday's performance also includes a Pre-Concert Fashion Show at 10:15 a.m. in the Bradley Pavilion.

Wagner composed Siegfried Idyll in 1870 as a birthday gift to his wife, Cosima. The work is a subtle lullaby which contrasts the large, grandiose statements that Wagner so often composed. Cosima wrote, "When I woke up I heard a sound, it grew ever louder, I could no longer imagine myself in a dream, music was sounding, and what music!" The piece was the capstone to what Wagner described as the "greatest year of my life."

Mozart's Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504, "Prague," was composed in 1786. The piece premiered in Prague following the success of his opera, Le Nozze di Figaro. The symphony diverges from Mozart's other works in the genre in that it has three movements instead of four. The "Prague" immediately precedes Mozart's trio of final symphonies (Nos. 39, 40, and 41); however, it stands with them in representing the pinnacle of Viennese Classical style and Mozart's craft.

Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, Opus 36, "Enigma Variations," was composed in 1898-99. After a long day of teaching, Elgar was improvising at the piano when one particular theme struck his wife, Alice. He proceeded to improvise variations in the character of various friends and acquaintances. Elgar turned this idea into his first major orchestral effort, completing the score to what he would call the "Enigma Variations" in early 1899. Elgar later described the genesis of his Enigma Variations as having "commenced in a spirit of humor and continued in deep seriousness."

The 2013.14 season is Edo de Waart's fifth as the sixth music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He is also chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, artistic partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and conductor laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
Guest conducting highlights include performances with the San Francisco Symphony, NHK Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Washington's National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor, Mr. de Waart has conducted at Nikikai Opera, Geneva Opera, Opera de Bastille, Santa Fe Opera, and The