this week’s oregon symphony concerts


It’s the weekend, and that means another set of concerts for the Oregon Symphony. This time around, we’re showcasing one of our own magnificent musicians – concertmaster Sarah Kwak – in front of the orchestra. Sarah is playing the beautiful Violin Concerto No. 2 by Henryk Wieniawski – a piece well suited to her lush tone and virtuoso technique. It’s not a concerto that one hears performed that often in the major concert hall, and it’s even less frequently heard played by a violinist of Sarah’s caliber. Here’s a brief interview (with a couple of video-bombs by some symphony notables) of Sarah about the concerto by OSO violist Jen Arnold:

The concert begins with a rather remarkable work by the German opera composer Detlev Glanert, entitled Shoreless River, which contains material derived from his most recently composed opera The Wooden Ship. It’s been really growing on me as we’ve been rehearsing. It has a wide range of interesting orchestral colors, and has a main theme that recurs through the piece which keeps a thread of continuity running through the piece like a trail of breadcrumbs for the listener. It also has a couple solos for one and two violas, so that might be why I like it, everything else be damned.

The final work on the program is Sibelius’ First Symphony. I love playing this piece! It is such a glorious and optimistic composition that belies little of the darkness that would come to occupy his later works, eventually extinguishing his composing more than 30 years before his death. There are solos aplenty – especially for the clarinet, which has a long soliloquy at the beginning of the symphony’s first movement, and a gorgeous little cello solo in the slow movement. The writing for the strings is, I think there’s no other way to describe it, quite simply ecstatic. If you see me smiling often on stage during this piece, that’s why. It is fun to play, and great music besides. I think I might be part Finnish…

Tickets and information.

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