ROSSINI La Gazza Ladra Overture
MOZART Flute Concerto No. 1
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
ANDREA GRIMINELLI flute
NEAL GITTLEMAN conductor WEBSITE
DAYTON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy…” So goes the traditional British rhyme. The poor magpie has been accused of all sorts of supernatural qualities. Just seeing one is thought to be bad luck; seeing a group can predict the future. We all know of the bird’s predilection for shiny objects. The black-and-white bird is the subject of myths and stories, and—in the case of La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie)—he even stars in his own opera, written by the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini.
In the story, the little mischief-maker creates havoc, propelling a poor servant girl into serious jeopardy. The opera’s popular overture opens the program. You can almost picture the wily bird up to his tricks.
The program then jumps to the Netherlands in 1777, where we find wealthy surgeon and amateur flutist Ferdinand De Jean engaging 21-year-old composer W. A. Mozart to write a range of flute music for his own diversion. While Mozart reportedly was no great fan of the flute, he did enjoy the idea of 200 gulden in his pocket.
Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, completed as part of the commission, finds the composer in a very breezy, lighthearted mood. But don’t be fooled; this is truly one of the major works for flute and orchestra. It is sure to shine brightly under the loving care of our guest soloist, the masterful Andrea Griminelli. He is preceded by an impressive résumé. His sensitive interpretations and astonishing technique have earned accolades and awards from every corner of the musical world, including the Grammy, the Prix de Paris and even an Italian Knighthood. Mr. Griminelli has performed at La Scala and Carnegie Hall and with such luminaries as Carl-Maria Giulini, Zubin Mehta, Sir Roger Norrington, and Luciano Pavarotti. If this combination of composition and virtuoso doesn’t put a smile on your face, nothing will!
After intermission, it is Neal and the Orchestra’s turn to shine.
Many fine European composers found themselves immigrating to the U.S. during World War II. Hungarian-born Béla Bartók and his wife arrived in New York in 1940. Beset by precarious finances and homesickness, he never felt fully home in his new country. His body failing from the onset of leukemia, he nonetheless produced a final set of masterpieces—including the brilliant Concerto for Orchestra commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky.
Bartók wrote in the program notes for the Boston premiere: “The title of this symphony-like orchestral work is explained by its tendency to treat the single instruments or instrument groups in a ‘concertante’ or soloistic manner.” The artful use of this virtuosic variety does not, however, detract from its central thrust of deep feeling and sheer musical invention. With your great orchestra on the stage in your great hall, Maestro Gittleman will deliver this musical experience with all the skill and joy Bartók put into it.