NASHVILLE, TN — Even musical giants have to start somewhere! In the first concert of their 15th season, the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra explores beginnings with early works of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Albéniz. Under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Christopher Norton, the orchestra performs the inaugural attempts at the complex symphonic form by two greats of the symphonic canon, the 29-year-old Beethoven and the still-teenage Dmitri Shostakovich. Providing a pleasing palate cleanser between those two substantial works are the lively Spanish melodies and dance rhythms of the Suite Española, written at age 26 by Isaac Albéniz.
Tennessee State University will host the first concert on October 1, 2017 at 4 PM in the Cox-Lewis Theater and Music Hall on the main campus at 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd. The second performance takes place October 10 at 7:30 PM at The Cathedral of Praise, 4300 Clarksville Pike, 37218.
All concerts by the NPO are free and open to the public.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 was first performed in 1800 but written over a period of 5 years in Beethoven’s mid- to late-twenties. Indebted to the classical symphonies of his teacher Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven nonetheless took bold risks with the form, experimenting with startling key progressions, tempi, orchestration and his trademark aggressive dynamic differences.
Dmitri Shostakovich started his first symphony in 1924 as his Conservatory graduation exercise when he was just eighteen. While owing a debt to his Russian predecessors Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky, he demonstrates an emotional maturity, moving from a witty, satirical opening to a deeply personal and tragic end, that belies his youth and foreshadows his enormous contribution to the symphonic form.
Albéniz’ Suite Española was originally written for solo piano when the child prodigy was in his mid-twenties. Exploring the musical styles of different regions of Spain, the suite marks a permanent change in Albéniz’ compositional direction. The beautiful melodies and engaging dance rhythms evoke Spain’s “sunlight and flavor of olives…that music of youth” as Albéniz himself put it.
The NPO is an all-volunteer community orchestra in its 15th season dedicated to giving amateur orchestra musicians within Middle Tennessee an opportunity to perform and to bringing a diverse range of free, high-quality performances of symphonic music to a wide variety of audiences, often under-served by classical music. The annual Concerto and Composition Competition furthers their mission by encouraging emerging area musicians.