OCTOBER 8: A CZECH FAMILY MEAL
Welcome to my first concert as your new Music Director! I designed it like a friendly Czech meal–– built around one monumental traditional dish, supported by piquant and intriguing side dishes.
The main course? Antonin Dvořák’s joyful 8th Symphony in G major! One of the composer’s greatest masterpieces, he wrote it in summer, in a burst of enthusiasm after being elected to the Prague Academy in 1889. It is by far his most richly Czech symphony. It reflects his pride at being Bohemian (the largest and most populous of the Czech homelands), and it is full of sunlight and exuberance. I have always adored this symphony. Every time I hear it, I am filled with joy and love for everyone. What a great way to celebrate the start of our adventure together!
The summer house where Dvořák composed his radiant Symphony No. 8
The appetizer: another beloved masterpiece: the overture to Bedřich Smetana’s comic opera The Bartered Bride (Prodaná Nevěsta). Virtuosic and brilliant, this music bursts out of the gate at breakneck speed, pushing the violin section in particular to the very brink. Luckily, the Redlands Symphony violins are more than up to the challenge! It’s hard to think of a more exciting starter for our Czech meal.
I promised you piquant side dishes, and there are two. Both are by 20th-century Czech master Bohuslav Martinů. He was born in a belfry (!), and as an adult, he was on the move constantly, mostly between Paris and New York. Along the way, he picked up influences from jazz, impressionism, and neo-classicism. One of his best concertos is the one he wrote for oboe in 1956. It is a perky and interesting work, and I rushed to program it in order to showcase our incredible principal oboist, Francisco (“Chisco”) Castillo. I can’t wait to romp through this lively score with Chisco!
Finally, a major discovery: a Martinů work that was written for California! It is his Sinfonietta La Jolla, composed for the La Jolla Musical Arts Society in 1950. What a delightful piece of music! It is tuneful, brilliant, lyrical, and bears a striking resemblance (spiritually speaking) to the Dvorak Symphony No. 8 which ends our repast.
Come and join our Czech family meal! I promise an exhilarating evening of fascinating fare, and you won’t feel overstuffed at the end.