Tchaikovsky and More Featured in Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal's Upcoming Season

Tchaikovsky and More Featured in Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal's Upcoming Season


Montreal, February 4, 2012 - Russia will enjoy pride of place in February at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, with six of the eight concerts during the month constructed around at least one work composed by a Russian composer. Programming will include scores by Tchaikovsky (among them his highly evocative Manfred Symphony), Rachmaninov (the formidable Third Piano Concerto in a performance by Denis Matsuev), Borodin (his magnificent Second String Quartet) and Glazunov (his ballet The Seasons). Also, two Russian conductors and pianists are included in the OSM's guests. Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky and his wife, Viktoria Postnikova, will be at the center of an all-Tchaikovsky program, while Mikhail Pletnev and Denis Matsuev will be the principals in a Glazunov and Rachmaninov concert.

OSM conductor in residence Nathan Brock will be conducting three concerts this month. Two programs will feature Dvo?ák's "New World" Symphony. The first will place the work in context by way of a narration and projections. In the second, the symphony will serve to anchor a program that includes two OSM premieres, a work by Canadian composer John Weinzweig, the centenary of whose birth is being celebrated, and Victor Herbert's Cello Concerto No. 2, performed by OSM principal cello Brian Manker. He will also be found with the Enchantment Theatre Company in a program for the entire family presenting a musical Journey to the land of fairy tales.


For a second season, the OSM is inviting audiences to experience Beyond the Score concerts, a series intended as much for fans of classical music as for those seeking to be introduced to it. Designed and developed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, these concerts offer an original and dynamic formula that lets concertgoers delve into the world of an important orchestral work. In the first part of the concert, a dramatic narration and visual projections position the symphony in its historical context, while in the second part the OSM, under the direction of its conductor in residence, Nathan Brock, presents a complete reading of the work.

Drawn to New York by Jeannette Thurber's invitation to conduct The National Conservatory of Music in New York for a salary twenty times higher than what he was getting at the Prague Conservatory, Dvo?ák forged a friendship with Henry Thacker Burleigh, an arranger and singer of Negro spirituals. Wrote Dvo?ák: "These are America's popular songs, and your composers should draw inspiration from them. In these Negro melodies, I find all that is necessary for a great and noble school of music." A number of analysts have found in the symphony's first movement an allusion to the song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," but as Burleigh pointed out: "Dvo?ák saturated himself in the spirit of these old tunes - and then invented his own melodies."
Dvo?ák himself applied the name "New World Symphony" to his Ninth Symphony to underscore the fact that the impressions evoked were inspired directly by his stay on American soil. It enjoyed a triumphant premiere on December 16, 1893, in Carnegie Hall.


The program for this concert is centered around Dvo?ák's "New World" Symphony, to which OSM conductor in residence Nathan Brock has juxtaposed two works being presented as premieres at the OSM.

Edge of the World by Canadian composer John Weinzweig, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated in 2013, was premiered by the Toronto CBC Radio Orchestra in February 1946, and is the first orchestral work to have incorporated material deriving from Inuit folk music. Moving from an almost static calm to a primal fury before subsiding in a plaintive melody on the English horn, the work is intended as a tribute to the adventurers of the Far North.

Victor Herbert is cited in numerous program notes devoted to the Dvo?ák Cello Concerto, the premiere of his Second Concerto having made a strong impression on Dvo?ák. A certain kinship can be established between the two works, largely lyrical, with broad themes, and with the orchestra playing an essential role in the dialogue between soloist and the mass of sound. Here it will feature Brian Manker, principal cello with the OSM.


The suite that Maurice Ravel derived from Contes de ma mère l'Oye here becomes an invitation to plunge into the enchanted world of fairy tales. As Mother Goose prepares to narrate the well-known tales "Tom Thumb" and "Beauty and the Beast," she herself becomes the heroine in the wonderful stories she has made her own. This show, bringing together music, dance and mime, invites The Young and the not so young to forget the daily grind and give themselves over to dreaming.