The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra opens its season on October 16 and 17 with a selection of works that celebrate the power of music to connect us and make us move. After a year of scaled back ensembles and live-streamed events, the full orchestra returns under the baton of Maestro Linus Lerner. Internationally renowned concert pianist and Steinway artist James Dick will join the orchestra for Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (Piano Concerto No. 5).
The program also features the overture to La Forza del Destino, an opera by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Translated as “The Force of Destiny”, the opera was first performed in the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of Saint Petersburg in 1862. Over the past century, La forza has had the reputation of being cursed, keeping Luciano Pavarotti from ever performing the opera.
The Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major by Ludwig Van Beethoven is one of the German composer’s most beloved works. Beethoven composed the piece in Vienna at the height of the Napoleonic wars. Also known as the Emperor Concerto, its melodies have a heroic quality, no doubt influenced by the political unrest of the times. Beethoven’s last piano concerto is both innovative and triumphant, well suited for the captivating talents of guest pianist James Dick.
The program closes with a lively rendition of Edvard Grieg’s Symphonic Dances. The Norwegian composer was inspired by a collection of his country’s native folk songs. His orchestral interpretations are imaginative and joyous, conveying a familiar feeling that brings to mind a simpler time. Grieg’s own words couldn’t be more appropriate for today: “When alone, one cannot enjoy nature past a certain dimension without melancholy knocking at your door, but in fellowship with a friend, it is infinite, without limits.”