Thursday, January 15, 2009


The art of programming a concert is more involved than you would think. In the KSO, Lucas works out programming, at least in a skeletal sense, many seasons ahead. He considers things such as important anniversaries for composers as well as the orchestra, how long it has been since the orchestra has performed a piece, and audience requests. He decides what he would like the orchestra to play and then takes his choices to a committee for suggestions.

Many times pieces are paired together on a concert because they work well together timing wise and they don't clash in tonality. There isn't usually any deeper meaning between the pairing. The concert we will perform tonight is different. The first piece on the program is Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #3. After the Mozart Piano Concerto and intermission we will play Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. Bach and Mendelssohn are very much tied together as composers.

J.S. Bach (1678-1750) and Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) were composers during two very different eras. Bach was the king of Baroque while Mendelssohn composed during the Romantic era. During Mendelssohn's life Bach's music had fallen out of fashion and was rarely played. Never the less, Mendelssohn studied Bach's music as a student and influences can be found in his symphonic writing. His fugal passages, particularly, showcase his study of Baroque music. In 1829, Mendelssohn staged a performance of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, a piece which hadn't been performed since before Bach's death. The success of this performance was largely responsible for reviving Bach's popularity.

I'm looking forward to tonight's concert. I like every piece we are playing on this concert series. The Italian Symphony is one of my all-time favorite pieces, Navah Perlman is playing beautifully, and the Bach Brandenburg is just fun to play.

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