Midori Plays Tchaikovsky in April

Copley Symphony Hall Hosts a Violin Concerto

Photo from San Diego Symphony

From April 1st to April 3rd, the Copley Symphony Hall is hosting Midori on violin. Rising Scottish director Rory Macdonald will conduct the concert. Midori will play "Midday Witch, Op. 108" by Antonin Dvorak. Dvorak took key lines from original poems and used these as a basis for his themes. He aimed to use rhythms of the Czech language to help shape his music. "Midday Witch" tells a grim tale of a forest cottage in which a young mother is fixing lunch for her absent husband and her small child. In order to get her son to behave, the mother tells the boy that if he doesn’t start behaving she will call the Midday Witch to come and get him. Suddenly, the witch shows up and tries to take the child away. At noon, the bell drives the witch away and the husband comes home to find his wife and son unconscious on the floor. The wife lives, but the boy is smothered by his mother’s protective embrace. The story has everything from conflict, to struggle, to happiness, and in the end, sadness. The music follows suit and gives the audience a sense of the characters emotions. 

The next piece featured in this upcoming show is by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He wrote his Concerto in Switzerland in the Spring of 1878. He sketched it in eleven days, and then completed the scoring in two weeks. Tchaikovsky’s Concerto went three years without performance until Adolph Brodsky performed the premiere in Vienna in 1881. The music gives a brief intro, and then it opens into the solo violin. The solo is no easy feat: the musician has to problem-solve quite frequently and play difficult sections that include string-crossing, multiple-stops, and harmonics. The theme reminds audiences of a Russian brawl, with its fiery and exciting solo violin and an ending that soars above the entire orchestra. 

The last piece of the show is "The Symphonic Dances, Op. 45," by Serge Rachmaninoff. Rachmaninoff spent the summer of 1940 at Orchard Point, a seventeen acre estate on Long Island that had groves, orchards, and a secluded studio where he could work privately. He set out to complete a work of dances for the orchestra. He consulted with choreographer Mikhail Fokine - who was his neighbor at the time - since he regarded the piece as a dance score. Both him and Fokine looked at this music as a future ballet production. After Fokine's death, his opinion of the music changed, and on January 3, 1941 it was performed as a purely orchestral composition. The sound is different and new for Rachmaninoff, considering it has a saxophone. Fokine warned Rachmaninoff not to feel bound to “dance” music, especially the waltz. Throughout this piece, it is evident that Rachmaninoff took Fokine's advice and gave the music vitality and character. 

Midori has a lot to live up to in performing these pieces, but her talent will undoubtedly honor these composers. She has already shown this through her past performances and albums. Midori finds poetry in work that would normally show pain, and calm where a person would expect frustration. This will be a beautiful performance where she will pay homage to these great pieces of music. Stop by the San Diego Symphony website today, and don't miss out on what is sure to be an amazing show.