Santa Rosa Symphony presents Masterworks by Mozart and Mahler

Posted by: Unknown on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

On January 12, 13 and 14, 2019, the Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS) presents "Tiers of Heaven," a concert that explores heavenly realms and mortality with vibrant music which evokes emotions from anguish, to peace, to exaltation. The program, conducted by new Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong, opens with Signals from Heaven, an antiphonal work by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. Mozart's explosive Symphony No. 40 in G minor contrasts Mahler's sublime Symphony No. 4 in G major. Operatic and Orchestral soprano Marie Plette sings the poem in the final movement of Mahler's symphony, which describes a child's view of paradise.

The Santa Rosa Symphony performs "Tiers of Heaven" Saturday, January 12, at 7:30 PM; Sunday, January 13 at 3 PM and Monday, January 14 at 7:30 PM at Weill Hall in Sonoma State University's Green Music Center. Additionally, the Discovery Rehearsal, a general seating event, happens at 2 PM on Saturday, January 12. The concert experience is further enhanced with pre-concert talks, given by Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong one hour prior to performances (except the Discovery Rehearsal). These informative 30-minute talks conclude with a Q & A period. Attendees may also "Ask Francesco" by writing a question on a cards provided in the lobby.

Program notes, a Spotify list of the works and an overview video with SRS Cultural Historian and Musicologist are available on the concert event page. Tickets range from $24 to $87 and may be purchased online, in person or by phone (see below). In addition, for each adult ticket purchased, the ticket holder may request a free ticket for a youth, ages 7 to 17, to accompany them.

Written months after losing his infant son in a feverish composing spree in which he wrote three symphonies in the space of six weeks, Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor exudes darkness and anguish. In the first movement, Mozart included a daring harmonic progression, going ever deeper in minor keys and returning to the minor key of G in the fourth movement, at a time when minor keys were avoided in final movements. That final movement, according to musicologist Michael Steinberg may be the most explosive music ever written. This symphony even provided Mozart with inspiration for his Fifth Symphony.

Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in G major, written around the turn of the 19th century is the most performed of his symphonies and is the most accessible to Mahler initiates. Contrasting to Mozart's Symphony No. 40, this symphony provides peace and solace. It concludes with a poem, a child's image of paradise, sung by soprano Marie Plette.

Acclaimed operatic soprano singer Marie Plette has performed a wide range of leading roles in major opera houses in North America and Europe, including Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Love Simpson in Cold Sassy Tree and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Plette has performed at the San Francisco Opera House (most recently as Madama Butterfly) and many regional companies in the area in addition to her international engagements.

Plette's orchestral credits include Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with the New Japan Philharmonic, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Memphis Symphony, Liu in Turandot with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and an evening of Viennese music with the San Francisco Symphony. Her several appearances at Carnegie Hall include singing Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Fauré's Requiem, and Bruckner's Te Deum with the New York Choral Society; and Rossini's Stabat Mater with the Collegiate Chorale. She has also been heard in recital at the Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York and in concert with Arizona Opera, New Jersey Symphony and Opera Omaha.

Marie Plette is a recipient of awards from the George London Competition, two grants from the Richard Tucker Foundation, a Sullivan grant and the San Francisco Opera's Il Cenacolo Award. Read Plette's full bio here.

"Tiers of Heaven" begins with Toru Takemitsu's Signals from Heaven. Its two antiphonal fanfares, "Day Signal" and "Night Signal," were written separately as commissions for festivals in Tokyo and Glasgow. The brass instruments "speak" to each other, creating a dialogue effect similar to that of the works by Venetian composers like Giovanni Gabrieli at the turn of the seventeenth century. Takemitsu turned to composing while recuperating from pneumonia after a mountain climbing trip when he was sixteen. He listened to the radio while he was bedridden and decided, in spite of having no musical training at that time, to become a composer. Primarily self-taught, he rose to the stature of Japan's best-known composers before his death in 1996. In this work, Takemitsu, who often wrote elegies for lost friends, presents the modern world and dreamlike landscapes of the realm beyond.

Concert Times and Location

Saturday, January 12, and Monday, January 14, at 7:30 PM, Sunday, January 13, at 3:00 PM

Discovery Open Rehearsal is Saturday, January 12 at 2:00 PM
All performances are at Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University.

Tickets are available by phone, online and in person as follows:  (707) 546-8742; srsymphony.org; or Santa Rosa Symphony Patron Services, 50 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa (Weekdays 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, opening at 10:30 AM Wednesdays)

Free tickets for youth, ages 7-17. Patrons may request ONE FREE ticket for a youth 7-17 with each paid adult ticket to a Classical Series concert. This offer is not available online, but may be requested by phone or in person.

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