Madison Symphony Orchestra Maestro John DeMain spoke with Thursday morning classical host Ava Borelli about their upcoming concerts, January 21-23 at Overture Hall. The program will feature Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto in D with virtuoso violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Camille Saint Saens’ Symphony No. 3 in C Minor with organist Greg Zelek, and the Overture to Dmitri Kabalevsky’s opera Colas Breugnon.
The full interview is posted above, but here are a few of John’s comments about what the symphony will be performing.
“Wynton wrote this piece of incredible composition of amazing scope and scale. I think that the piece really explores roots music in America. I learn every day myself, and I learned that what we now call Bluegrass started as a combination of West African fiddling and music from Scotland and Ireland. The piece also seeks to capture some of the church experience in the South, with the speaking in tongues and shouting. Wynton has made a lifetime of studying roots music and it influences his jazz and classical writing.”
“The first movement is rhapsodic and dreamlike. You’ll hear Mahler one minute, Stravinsky the next. And it later breaks into a street riot with police whistles as the orchestra explodes. The second movement, Rondo Burlesque, is a wicked, wild ride. The third movement is incredible Blues, and the fourth movement is foot stomping and clapping, you’ll hear Aaron Copland and the hoedown.”
“In our other major piece in this show, Camille Saint Saens’ Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, organ soloist Greg Zelek will perform. I think this piece is a beautiful combination of orchestra and organ. There’s a soul-wrenching second movement where the organ is so soft, and then all the stops come out for the last movement.”
“Our opening piece will be the Overture from Dmitri Kabalevsky’s opera Colas Breugnon. This opera was written in 1938, revised in 1968, and is based on a 16th century story, but over here it’s not performed really at all. But the overture is what has entered into the mainstream. It’s his impression of the title character. The other two pieces in our program are substantial. This overture, on the other hand, is short and brilliant. I’ve been looking to play it for years, it’s almost a pops classic. It’s fun and will get us in the mood.”
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