The Columbus Symphony Orchestra continues their 2023 season this Saturday with From Mozart to the Birds, a concert featuring a memorable repertoire of light orchestral pieces that are easy to enjoy. Whether it's your first or fortieth time seeing the CSO, this concert promises to hold something for everyone and is a perfect opportunity to introduce someone new to classical music. "I've been telling people this concert is like the cotton candy of our season," said CSO's Executive Director, Kern Wadkins. "It's light and accessible and just a lovely selection of repertoire I'm confident everyone will enjoy."
The repertoire chosen by CSO's Maestro George Del Gobbo focuses on pieces that highlight birdsong with orchestra. Einojuhani Rautavaara's Concerto Arcticus is a unique composition likely new to most listeners. This fascinating piece incorporates tape recordings of birdsong recorded near the Arctic Circle, and on the bogs of Liminka, in northern Finland. Thoughout the concerto, Rautavaara celebrates his Finnish nationality by honoring the birds of his country with this exquisite setting for orchestra. Expect to hear multiple recordings of different birds incorporated by Rautavaara throughout the concerto's three movements that compromise this modern, but highly-accessible concerto.
Einojuhani Rautavaara as photographed by Ari Korkala (Source)
Praise for Rautavarra and his work is not hard to come by. In their assessment of Concerto Arcticus, the Cambridge University Press sang the composer's accessible style, saying: "Einojuhani Rautavaara's international fame rests largely on pieces celebrated for their apparently non-modernist accessibility." ClassicsToday also hailed Rautavaara and Concerto Arcticus. "There is no better composer alive today than Finland’s Einojuhani Rautavaara," they wrote. "...Cantus Arcticus is the composer’s most famous piece, a “concerto” for taped bird sounds with orchestra. This is much more than a gimmick; the music provides the perfect sonic environment for the various bird calls, but more to the point, it represents one of the very few totally successful compositions integrating pre-recorded tape with acoustic instruments."
From Mozart to the Birds will also include Ravel's Mother Goose Suite. Though the title references Mother Goose, it's important to know the CSO does not consider this a children's concert. However, their Open Rehearsals are a perfect way for children to experience the orchestra! During these rehearsals, the performance hall doors are open and the house lights are on to create an informal setting that is welcoming to all. It is perfect for families with small children to gain exposure to the art form. It is also great for patrons who may not be able to sit long, are uncomfortable in the dark, unable to attend the concert at night, cannot afford the evening ticket prices, and many other barriers that prevent people from attending concerts. (Learn more about this week's Open Rehearsal here!)
Finally, the program will conclude with Mozart's beautiful Symphony No. 38 in D Major, K. 504 "Prague." This popular composition is known as the Prague symphony because that is where it was premiered by Mozart himself. According to John Mangum of the LA Phil, "Mozart’s early biographer Franz Niemetschek remembered the concert, which he had attended: 'We did not, in fact, know what to admire most, whether the extraordinary compositions or his extraordinary playing; together they made such an overwhelming impression on us that we felt we had been bewitched.' One of those extraordinary compositions was the “Prague” Symphony, which was receiving its first performance." The premiere came in the middle of Mozart's famous trip to Prague, and was remembered by Mozart as one of the happiest days of his life. (Source)
For more information on each of the compositions featured on the program for Saturday's concert, join the CSO at 6:30pm in Studio Theatre for Know the Score. This pre-concert discussion with Maestro George Del Gobbo is a perfect opportunity to learn all about the music being performed at the 7:30pm concert. Know the Score is included with concert ticket purchase, and all are welcome to attend.◼️
If You Go:
What: Columbus Symphony Orchetra's From Mozart to the Birds
When: Saturday, November 18 at 7:30pm with Know the Score beginning at 6:30pm
Where: RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Bill Heard Theatre
Maurice Ravel | Mother Goose Suite, Cinq pièces enfantines
Einojuhani Rautavaara | Cantus arcticus: Concerto for Birds & Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Symphony No. 38 in D Major, K. 504 “Prague”