Stuart Malina and the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra will open our 2012/13 season with music by Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and Schumann.
The soloist will be the prize-winning pianist, Alon Goldstein, who will make his HSO debut performing Rachmaninoff’s ever-popular “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Strauss’s dashing musical portrait of Don Juan and Schumann’s stirring “Rhenish” Symphony fill out the program.
Opening the program will be the tone poem, Don Juan, by Richard Strauss. Strauss was to become the dominant German composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but he was a relative unknown when he composed Don Juan in 1888. He was 24 at the time and the piece helped to establish his international reputation. He went on to write a succession of brilliant tone poems over the next 15 years before turning to opera after the turn of the century. The subject of Strauss’s Don Juan is taken from a poem of the same name by the Hungarian poet, Nicolaus Lenau. This dashing musical portrait of the legendary womanizer is one of Strauss’s most inspired musical creations and has been a staple in the orchestral repertoire for 125 years.
Following Strauss’ Don Juan, the Israeli pianist, Alon Goldstein, will make his HSO debut performing the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by the Russian pianist-composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff. Composed in 1934, the Rhapsody, like the four piano concertos written before it, is a brilliant showpiece for virtuoso pianist. The work is a set of 24 variations on a theme by the 19th century Italian violin virtuoso, Nicolo Paganini. The beautiful and noble 18th variation has achieved a life of its own, being featured in a number of films, including Somewhere in Time.
After intermission the orchestra will perform Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, the so-called “Rhenish” Symphony. As its name suggests, the symphony is a celebration of the glorious Rhineland, which inspired generations of German composers, most notably Richard Wagner. Interestingly, the symphony is in five movements rather than the more usual four. The 'extra' fourth movement, originally subtitled 'In the style of an accompaniment to a solemn ceremony', was inspired by a visit to the Cologne cathedral.