KANSAS CITY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Bridges of the Heart
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
From the Maestro
Chopin was one of the most gifted composers for the piano that ever lived. In his variations on a duet from Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”, Chopin opens with a free “fantasy” then follows with a set of variations on the famous tune before turning it into a “polonaise”, a dance from his native Poland that he exploited throughout his career. It is a work with a great melody, great pianistic filigree, and great story-telling, all hallmarks of Chopin’s gift, and composed when he was just 17! The work inspired Robert Schumann’s famous exclamation, “Hats off, gentlemen! A genius!”
Two great virtuosic works for violin are featured on this concert. Saint-Saens’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” is one of the most famous works for solo violin from the Romantic era. It was originally composed as the last movement of a violin concerto. It has become justly famous as a stand-alone piece and a hallmark of dazzling musical fireworks on the violin. Tchaikovsky’s “Valse Scherzo” is equally virtuosic, though less well-known. This is a fabulous opportunity to hear this great piece in live performance.
Fritz Kreisler was one of the most famous violinists of all time. In fact, his cadenzas for the Beethoven Violin Concerto are still the most often performed, and Elgar composed his violin concerto for him. But his name is synonymous with composing delightful short works designed as encores. “Liebesfreud” is among the most famous and its joyous and infectious tunes make the heart sing. His “Caprice Viennois” was featured on Broadway in the revue “Continental Varieties” in 1934!
Haydn is revered as the composer who almost single-handedly invented the string quartet and symphony. His C-major cello concerto has a divine slow movement with the cello soaring and singing over a simple orchestral accompaniment and concludes with an ecstatic and energetic final movement.
Continuing our commitment to women composers this season, we will open the concert with Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte. Shaw is the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music, and is one of the most important composers of her generation. Certainly, she is the most well-known.