The Utah Symphony, under the direction of conductor Nicholas McGegan, will dive into a lyrical adventure as they pay musical homage to the sea in a concert featuring Handel's colorful "Water Music," one of his most famous symphonic works.
The orchestra will also perform a flood of other enchanting works including "The Swan of Tuonela," by Jean Sibelius, Benjamin Britten's "Four Sea Interludes," and Felix Mendelssohn's "The Fair Melusina," January 4 and 5 at 8 p.m. in Abravanel Hall. Also on the program are two violin concertos by Vivaldi and Bach, featuring Utah Symphony Concertmaster Ralph Matson.
Like the explorers of old, composers have forever been drawn to the mystical nature of water in all its stunning variety.
Folklore and legends spring to life in Mendelssohn's alluring symphonic poem, "The Fair Melusina." This work ripples with mythical imagery as shifting moods reflect the beauty, suspicion and sorrow of the mysterious water spirit Melusine.
Finnish composer Jean Sibelius originally composed his tone poem "The Swan of Tuonela" as a prelude for an opera in 1893, but instead, revised and used it as one of the four movements of his "Lemminkäinen Suite." In this expressive piece, one can hear the somberness as the swan glides majestically around the black waters surrounding Tuonela, the Kingdom of Death.
Handel was commissioned by King George I to compose a new creation for his summer boating party on July 17, 1717. The concert was performed on a barge by 50 musicians. The king and his guests listened from the nearby royal barge as numerous other boats floated down the River Thames. Handel's beloved work shimmers with ever-changing tempos, gushing harmonies, and lively themes.
Britten's "Four Sea Interludes" was composed for his opera "Peter Grimes," and are heard during the various scene changes. The interludes "Dawn," "Sunday Morning," "Moonlight," and "Storm," transport the listener from one location to another, expressing the turbulence of the characters with an underlying swell of foreboding. Britten cleverly turned the interludes into a concert piece, placing them in a different order so they would flow freely and independently.
McGegan and Toby Tolokan, Utah Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning, will present a free pre-concert chat each night, one hour prior to the start of the performance on the orchestra level of Abravanel Hall.
Single tickets for the performances range from $18 to $53 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office (123 W. South Temple) or by visiting www.utahsymphony.org. Discounted student tickets will be available on the date of the performance. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). All ticket prices are subject to change and availability. Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.