This concert is sponsored by Beth Threatt
Mr. Carr's appearance is sponsored by Dr. Karen Hansberger

Overture for Orchestra

Grażyna Bacewicz

Born 1909 in Łódź, Poland. Died 1969 in Warsaw, Poland.

Composed in 1943 | 6 minutes
Scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion, and strings


featuring Colin Carr, cello

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Born 1873 in Oneg, Russia. Died in 1947 in Beverly Hills, CA.

Composed in 1912 | 6 minutes
Scored for solo cello and strings

Variations on a Rococo Theme

featuring Colin Carr, cello

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Born 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia. Died 1893 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Composed in 1877 | 18 minutes
Scored for solo cello, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, and strings

Symphony No. 7

Antonín Dvořák

Born 1841 in Nelahozeves, Czechia. Died 1904 in Prague, Czechia.

Composed in 1884-1885 | 35 minutes
4 movements: I. Allegro maestoso; II. Poco adagio; III. Scherzo: Vivace; IV. Finale: Allegro
Scored for 2 flutes (with piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings

Program Notes: Dvořák's Seventh


Grażyna Bacewicz's Overture for Orchestra is a dynamic and evocative composition that showcases the composer's command of orchestral colors and her innovative approach to form and structure. Composed in 1943, during a time of great turmoil and uncertainty, this work serves as a testament to Bacewicz's resilience and creativity in the face of adversity.

The Overture opens with a bold and assertive introduction, immediately capturing the listener's attention. Bacewicz's orchestration is rich and vibrant, utilizing a wide range of instrumental timbres to create a sense of grandeur and excitement. The opening theme, introduced by the brass section, is powerful and memorable, setting the stage for the musical journey that lies ahead.

As the Overture progresses, Bacewicz explores a variety of contrasting moods and textures. The music alternates between moments of intense rhythmic drive and passages of lyrical introspection. Bacewicz's distinctive harmonic language adds a layer of complexity and unpredictability, keeping the listener engaged and intrigued.

One of the highlights of the Overture is the central section, where Bacewicz introduces a contrasting theme of poignant beauty. This lyrical episode provides a moment of respite and reflection, showcasing the composer's sensitivity and melodic inventiveness. The orchestration becomes more delicate and transparent, allowing the listener to fully appreciate the expressive nuances of the music.

As the Overture nears its conclusion, Bacewicz unleashes a thrilling finale, filled with rhythmic vitality and orchestral fireworks. The various thematic elements from earlier in the piece are skillfully interwoven, creating a sense of unity and coherence. The music builds to a climactic moment, with the entire orchestra joining forces in a powerful and exhilarating conclusion.

Grażyna Bacewicz's Overture for Orchestra is a captivating and inventive work that exemplifies the composer's distinctive voice within the realm of orchestral composition. With its bold melodies, intricate harmonies, and skillful orchestration, this piece stands as a testament to Bacewicz's creativity and artistic vision. The Overture serves as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of music to transcend difficult times.


Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vocalise is arguably one of the composer's most beloved works. This lyrical composition, with no words or lyrics, was initially conceived as one of Rachmaninoff's "14 Songs," Op. 34. It consists of a soaring, wordless melody, floating effortlessly above a rich harmonic accompaniment. The piece's simplicity and direct emotional appeal have made it a staple of the vocal and instrumental repertoire.

Originally composed in 1915 for the soprano Antonina Nezhdanova. The work for high voice and piano was written without text. Rather, the vocalist would sing the melody on a vowel of their choosing. Interestingly, when the premiere of the work was given in Moscow in January of 1916, Rachmaninoff had already arranged it for voice and orchestra. Most audiences today hear the Vocalise not as originally composed, but in an arrangement. Popular arrangements include violin and piano as well as the cello and strings arrangement heard this evening.

The cello adaptation of Vocalise, arranged by Craig Leon, is a testament to the universality of Rachmaninoff's music. Transcribed for cello and orchestra, it retains the haunting melody and lush harmonies of the original. This version allows the cello to take on the role of the human voice, with the rich, sonorous tones of the cello making a perfect choice for this transcription.

Vocalise for cello provides a platform for the cellist to explore the full range of their instrument's capabilities. The piece requires a deep sense of phrasing, lyrical playing, and expressive dynamics. The cello should sing with a vocal quality, imitating the human voice, while embracing the cello's own resonant timbre. The performer is encouraged to create a sense of nostalgia and longing, characteristic of Rachmaninoff's works. The piece's expressive potential is vast, and interpretations may range from introspective and meditative to deeply passionate and heart-wrenching.

Rachmaninoff's Vocalise for cello is a mesmerizing musical gem that captures the essence of human emotion and longing. Whether performed as a standalone piece or as part of a larger program, it offers a powerful and evocative experience for both the audience and the performer. This cello version pays tribute to the composer's extraordinary ability to touch the human soul with his music and allows the cello to join in the profound conversation of Vocalise. As the cello sings its own wordless song, it reaffirms the timeless beauty and emotional resonance of Rachmaninoff's music in a new and captivating way.


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, is a delightful and virtuosic work for cello and orchestra. Composed in 1876, the piece pays homage to the elegance and charm of the Rococo period while showcasing Tchaikovsky's melodic genius and compositional prowess.

The work is structured as a set of variations based on an original theme composed by Tchaikovsky himself, which is reminiscent of the graceful melodies and ornamentation characteristic of the Rococo era. The theme, introduced by the solo cello, immediately transports the listener to a world of refined beauty and sophistication. As the variations unfold, Tchaikovsky displays his mastery of orchestration and his ability to weave intricate musical textures. Each variation presents a unique character, showcasing different aspects of the cello's expressive capabilities. From tender lyricism to lively virtuosity, Tchaikovsky explores a wide range of emotions and technical challenges.

Throughout the piece, the solo cello takes center stage, engaging in a musical dialogue with the orchestra. The cello's role evolves from that of a lyrical soloist to a spirited performer, tackling dazzling runs, virtuosic passages, and expressive cadenzas. Tchaikovsky's writing for the cello is both demanding and rewarding, allowing the instrument to shine in all its expressive glory.

One of the highlights of the work is the seventh variation, a beautiful and introspective Adagio. Here, Tchaikovsky unveils a deeply emotional melody that showcases the cello's ability to sing with warmth and pathos. The intimate dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra creates a sense of intimacy and vulnerability, captivating the listener with its heartfelt beauty.

The final variation, marked Allegro vivo, brings the piece to a thrilling conclusion. Tchaikovsky infuses the music with energy and exuberance, allowing the soloist to dazzle with brilliant displays of virtuosity. The cello and orchestra engage in a lively interplay, exchanging rapid-fire musical ideas and building up to a triumphant and exhilarating finale.

Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme is a testament to the composer's ability to blend elements of the past with his own unique voice. It captures the elegance and charm of the Rococo era while incorporating Tchaikovsky's unmistakable Romantic sensibility. With its captivating melodies, technical brilliance, and expressive depth, this work continues to enchant audiences and stands as a testament to Tchaikovsky's enduring legacy as a master of orchestral composition and cello repertoire.


Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70, is one of the pinnacle examples of the composer's remarkable symphonic craftsmanship. Written between 1884 and 1885, this symphony showcases Dvořák at the height of his creative powers, combining his Czech musical heritage with a distinctive and captivating compositional style. The Seventh Symphony is often hailed as one of Dvořák's finest symphonic works, displaying a perfect balance of emotional depth, technical brilliance, and structural integrity.

The symphony opens with a powerful and foreboding adagio, establishing a sense of drama and tension from the outset. The main theme, introduced by the brass section, is hauntingly beautiful and captures the listener's attention immediately. This theme undergoes various transformations throughout the symphony, serving as a unifying force that binds the movements together.

The second movement, marked poco adagio, offers a striking contrast to the intensity of the first movement. Here, Dvořák presents a serene and introspective atmosphere, with lyrical melodies flowing seamlessly against a lush orchestral backdrop. The composer's gift for melodic invention shines through, as he weaves a tapestry of expressive motifs that evoke a range of emotions, from melancholy to hopefulness.

In the third movement, Vivace - Poco meno mosso, Dvořák injects a lively and energetic character. This Scherzo movement is characterized by its propulsive rhythms, playful melodies, and intricate orchestration. Dvořák's skillful handling of orchestral color is evident as he showcases various instrumental sections in a spirited dialogue. The movement's middle section introduces a contrasting trio with a more lyrical and pastoral quality, providing a brief respite before the return of the spirited scherzo.

The final movement, Allegro, wraps up the symphony with a powerful and exhilarating finale. Dvořák unleashes a torrent of musical ideas, displaying his mastery of thematic development and dramatic pacing. The main theme from the first movement reappears, now transformed into a triumphant and majestic statement. The symphony builds to a climactic moment, as all the thematic elements converge in a grand orchestral tapestry, showcasing the composer's symphonic prowess.

Dvořák's Symphony No. 7 is a work of profound emotional depth and structural integrity. It showcases the composer's ability to combine symphonic tradition with his unique melodic gifts, capturing the listener's imagination from beginning to end. From the haunting beauty of the opening movement to the energetic exuberance of the finale, Dvořák's Seventh Symphony stands as a testament to his stature as one of the greatest symphonists of the late Romantic era.

Meet Colin Carr

Colin Carr appears throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and teacher. He has played with major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, Montréal and all the major orchestras of Australia and New Zealand. Conductors with whom he has worked include Rattle, Gergiev, Dutoit, Elder, Skrowasczewski and Marriner. He has been a regular guest at the BBC Proms and has twice toured Australia.

With his duo partner Thomas Sauer he has played recitals throughout the United States and Europe including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Wigmore Hall in London. 2016 sees them playing a program of Britten and Adès for both the Chamber Music Societies of New York and Philadelphia. Colin has played complete cycles of the Bach Solo Suites at the Wigmore Hall in London, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Gardner Museum in Boston and in Montreal, Toronto, Ottowa and Vancouver.

As a member of the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio, he recorded and toured extensively for 20 years. Chamber music plays an important role in his musical life. He is a frequent visitor to international chamber music festivals worldwide and has appeared often as a guest with the Guarneri and Emerson string quartets and with New York's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Recent CD releases include the complete Bach suites on the Wigmore Live label and the complete Beethoven Sonatas and Variations on the MSR Classics label with Thomas Sauer. Colin is the winner of many prestigious international awards, including First Prize in the Naumburg Competition, the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Award, Second Prize in the Rostropovich International Cello Competition and also winner of the Young Concert Artists competition.He first played the cello at the age of five. Three years later he went to the Yehudi Menuhin School, where he studied with Maurice Gendron and later William Pleeth.

He was made a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in 1998, having been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory in Boston for 16 years. In 1998, St. John’s College, Oxford created the post of “Musician in Residence” for him, and in September 2002 he became a professor at Stony Brook University in New York.

Colin's cello was made by Matteo Gofriller in Venice in 1730. He makes his home with his wife Caroline and 3 children, Clifford, Frankie and Anya, in an old house outside Oxford.

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