Konstantine Valianatos, pianist
Juan Carlos Lomónaco, guest conductor
Join Symphony Arlington for a spectacular Season Finale! Symphony Arlington will feature Auber's Overture to Le Domino Noir, Prokofiev's Summer Night and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol! This performance will also feature pianist, Konstantine Valianatos performing Liszt’s Rhapsodie Espagnole and the orchestra will be led by guest conductor Juan Carlos Lomónaco.
Auber: Overture to Le Domino Noir
Le domino noir (The Black Domino) is an opéra comique by the French composer Daniel Auber, first performed on 2 December 1837 by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse in Paris. The libretto to the three-act piece is by Auber's usual collaborator, Eugène Scribe. It was one of Auber's most successful works, clocking up 1,207 performances by 1909. It received its UK premiere in 1838 and appeared in the USA the following year. Some of Auber's music has a Spanish flavour to reflect its setting.
In 1869, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky provided recitatives to replace the spoken dialogue for a proposed production of Le domino noir by an Italian opera company visiting Russia. No performances are believed to have taken place, but four of Tchaikovsky's recitatives were included in Richard Bonynge's recording of the opera.
There was a production of the opera by Pierre Jourdan at the Théâtre Imperial at Compiègne in 1995.
Liszt: Rhapsodie Espagnol
Rhapsodie espagnole (Spanish Rhapsody), S.254, R.90, is a composition for solo piano composed by Franz Liszt in 1863. The piece is very suggestive of traditional Spanish music, and was inspired by Liszt's tour in Spain and Portugal in 1845. When played, this piece takes roughly 11-14 minutes and contains many technical challenges, including rapid chords and octaves. Ferruccio Busoni arranged the piece for piano and orchestra in 1894.
It includes free variations on La Folia and Jota Aragonesa and opens with a cadenza including blind octaves.
Prokofiev: Summer Night
Sergei Prokofiev was looking for a little relief from Soviet ideology when he turned Richard Sheridan's play Betrothal in a Monastery into an opera (although Prokofiev did throw a bone to the authorities by including a scene full of tipsy monks). The composer turned some of the music from the opera into a suite titled "Summer Night."
Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol
Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34, is the common Western title for an orchestral work based on Spanish folk melodies and written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1887. Rimsky-Korsakov originally intended to write the work for a solo violin with orchestra, but later decided that a purely orchestral work would do better justice to the lively melodies.
The work has five movements.
- The first movement, Alborada, is a festive and exciting dance, typically from traditional asturian music to celebrate the rising of the sun. It features the clarinet with two solos, and later features a solo violin with a solo similar to the clarinet's.
- The second movement, Variazioni, begins with a melody in the horn section. Variations of this melody are then repeated by other instruments and sections of the orchestra.
- The third movement, Alborada, presents the same asturian dance as the first movement. The two movements are nearly identical, in fact, except that this movement has a different instrumentation and key.
- The fourth movement, Scena e canto gitano ("Scene and gypsy song") opens with five cadenzas — first by the horns and trumpets, then solo violin, flute, clarinet, and harp — played over rolls on various percussion instruments. It is then followed by a dance in triple time leading attacca into the final movement.
- The fifth and final movement, Fandango asturiano, is also an energetic dance from the Asturias region of northern Spain. The piece ends with an even more rousing statement of the Alborada theme.
A complete performance of the Capriccio takes around 16 minutes.
The piece is often lauded for its orchestration, which features a large percussion section and many special techniques and articulations, such as in the fourth movement when the violinists, violists, and cellists are asked to imitate guitars (the violin and viola parts are marked "quasi guitara"). Despite the critical praise, Rimsky-Korsakov was annoyed that the other aspects of the piece were being ignored. In his autobiography, he wrote:
The opinion formed by both critics and the public, that the Capriccio is a magnificently orchestrated piece — is wrong. The Capriccio is a brilliant composition for the orchestra. The change of timbres, the felicitous choice of melodic designs and figuration patterns, exactly suiting each kind of instrument, brief virtuoso cadenzas for instruments solo, the rhythm of the percussion instruments, etc., constitute here the very essence of the composition and not its garb or orchestration. The Spanish themes, of dance character, furnished me with rich material for putting in use multiform orchestral effects. All in all, the Capriccio is undoubtedly a purely external piece, but vividly brilliant for all that. It was a little less successful in its third section (Alborada, in B-flat major), where the brasses somewhat drown the melodic designs of the woodwinds; but this is very easy to remedy, if the conductor will pay attention to it and moderate the indications of the shades of force in the brass instruments by replacing the fortissimo by a simple forte.