Opening Night: A Romantic Evening
Monday, September 25th marks the eagerly awaited return of The Phoenix Symphony and its wonderful maestro, Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz, in performances recorded live during the 2022-2023 “Classics Series” from Phoenix Symphony Hall. Join us every Monday night at 7pm on Classical 89.5 KBACH, KNAU Arizona Public Radio, and DTV 8.5, Classical Arizona PBS over the next ten weeks for this exciting season of broadcasts.
We also welcome a new host to our airwaves, Mike Bolton, who is a noted lecturer and freelance writer on classical music and opera and a classical music host on WRTI 90.1FM in Philadelphia. He has lectured, curated programming, and created podcasts on opera and classical music for the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and many more organizations. Welcome Mike to Arizona PBS and The Phoenix Symphony broadcasts when you listen on Monday night.
About the Music
The first broadcast of the season was recorded the weekend of October 16, 2022 and features thrilling performances of works by Antonin Dvorak, Gustav Mahler, Edward Elgar and Ludwig von Beethoven.
Few works are as exciting as Dvorak’s 1891 Carnival Overture, part of his Nature, Life, and Love, trilogy of overtures. Dvorak would align the “Life” portion of the trilogy with this overture representing our capacity for joy and celebration. In his biography of Dvořák, Otakar Šourek wrote that the ebullient overture is “the impression of a man seized into the joyous vortex of life.”
From the same concert, we’ll hear Gustav Mahler’s Symphony #1 in D maj, the Titan Symphony. Mahler variously labeled the work a symphony, symphonic poem in two parts, and a tone poem in symphonic form. If the first performance in 1889 was not received well by audiences who may have found its five-movement form perplexing, critics were also unimpressed, with one even calling it “a parody of a symphony.” Mahler revised the work significantly, even excising its second movement altogether. While Mahler also dropped its “Titan” nickname, after a popular four-volume novel by Jean Paul, it seems to have stuck!
Countdown to Opening Night!
As a reminder, every day during the week of September 25th, 89.5 Classical KBACH and DTV 8.5 Classical Arizona PBS will be airing selections from The Phoenix Symphony’s archives, as we all prepare for the opening night of Symphony’s 2023-2024 season on September 29th in Phoenix Symphony Hall.
To finish our first program of the season, we look back at two works from those archives.
Sir Edward Elgar’s Elegy was composed in 1909 just a few weeks after the death of the Anglo-German music editor and publisher August Jaeger, a very dear friend of Elgar who was as much a sounding board and cheerleader for the composer as he was a critical ear. It’s thought that this Elegy was Elgar’s musical reaction Jaeger’s passing. British music critic Michael Kennedy describes the work as “wonderful in its unheroic devotional expression of grief – personal, intimate and beautifully proportioned in a long arch of melody”. This performance was recorded live in Phoenix on May 25, 2019.
Ending our program is Ludwig van Beethoven’s revolutionary Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. One of those works that transcends the concert hall, its iconic “da-da-da daaaa” opening has been used as a ring tone on cell phones and has infiltrated other elements of popular culture. Still, this work is considered one of the most essential and influential works of classical music. Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz conducts The Phoenix Symphony in this performance from September 21, 2019 from Phoenix Symphony Hall.
For more information on this series, please visit our website, azpbs.org/thephoenixsymphony, where you can also read articles about this series and the Symphony.
Featured in this episode:
Mahler - Symphony No. 1 "Titan"
I. Langsam, Schleppend
II. Kräftig bewegt
III. Feierlich und gemessen
IV. Stürmisch bewegt
Elgar - Elegy, Op. 58
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67
I. Allegro con brio
II. Andante con moto