Feb. 12, 2009
UI Chamber Orchestra features violin and piano soloists March 1
Three entertaining and highly contrasting works will comprise the program when the University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra presents a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 1, in Macbride Hall Auditorium on the UI campus.
William LaRue Jones, UI director of orchestral studies, will conduct the concert, which will feature violinist Katie Wolfe (photo, left) and pianist Ksenia Nosikova (photo, right) as soloists in two of the works on the program.
Wolfe and the orchestra will perform "The Lark Ascending" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a work noted for its ethereal beauty and calm mood. That will be followed by a passionate and virtuosic early work by Franz Liszt, "Malédiction" -- a repeat performance by Nosikova and the Chamber Orchestra from the Iowa List Festival on Feb. 7.
The concert will conclude with the cheerful and sprightly Symphony No. 5 of Franz Schubert.
"The Lark Ascending" was composed in 1914, but Vaughan Williams quickly put it aside after Britain entered World War I. It was revised after the war and received its orchestral premiere in 1921. The work takes its name from a poem by George Meredith that includes the following lines:
"He rises and begins to round,
"Till lost on his aerial rings
The soaring imagery of the Lark is represented in the music by the solo violin. Its part is embellished with virtuosic trills, double-stop harmonics, and rapid arpeggios that stand in stark contrast to the staid orchestral accompaniment.
"Malédiction" was composed sometime around the 1830s, a tumultuous period in Liszt's life. Following the unexpected death of his father in 1827, he settled in Paris and worked as a piano teacher. He kept odd hours and soon took up drinking and smoking; a failed love affair with one of his aristocratic pupils made matters worse, leading to a complete emotional breakdown.
The actual date of composition during this period is not known, and there are no documented performances of "Malédiction" during the composer's lifetime. Based on motives labeled "curse," "pride," "tears-anxieties-dreams" and "jest," the work defies expectations of classical form, offering in its place a gratifying mixture of virtuosity and psychological drama.
Schubert's early works were often intended for private gatherings of a close circle of friends. As the concerts grew to include an amateur orchestra, they were held at the home of violinist Otto Hatwig. The Symphony No. 5 was first played in Hatwig's home in 1816 when Schubert was only 19. The scoring of this work, with winds but no trumpets and drums, reflects the frequently changing membership of the informal orchestra.
A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. The founding director of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDjones.htm.
Originally from Minnesota, Wolfe joined the string faculty of the UI School of Music in August, 2004. She has had a diverse career as a soloist, teacher, chamber and orchestral musician on the national and international stage. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/STRGwolfe.htm.
Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe and South America. She has been invited to perform at international festivals Europe as well as the Aspen and Sarasota Music Festivals in the United States. Among her recordings are the complete "Years of Pilgrimage" by Franz Liszt, released by Centaur Records to critical acclaim. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/PIANOnosikova.htm.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Visit the UI School of Music Web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.
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