Symphony No. 4

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Ludwig Van Beethoven
B. Dec. 16, 1770 in Bonn (baptized), Germany
D. Mar. 26, 1927 in Vienna, Austria

Beethoven wrote most of the Fourth Symphony during a summer residency in 1806 at the estate of a patron, Prince Karl Lichnowsky.  In mid-March 1807, it was first performed during a private subscription concert at the palace of another patron, Prince Josef Logkowitz, and was dedicated to a third, Count Franz Oppersdorff.  READ MORE



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Concerto in D minor

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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
B. March 8, 1714, in Weimar
D. Dec. 14, 1788, in Hamburg

Johann Sebastian Bach’s second surviving son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, was the god¬son of Telemann and his successor as Music Director in Hamburg.  C.P.E. was an enterprising young musician, the most innovative and idiosyncratic member of his extremely talented family. READ MORE



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Overture, Scherzo and Finale

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Robert Schumann
B. June 8, 1810, in Zwickau
D. July 29, 1856, in Endenich

In 1840, the year of his marriage, Schumann expressed his happiness in the extraordinary lyrical outpouring of more than a hundred songs. 1841 was a year in which he concentrated on orchestral music. He wrote a Fantasy that was to become the first movement of his Piano Concerto, the two symphonies that were to be published as Nos. 1 and 4, and this Overture, Scherzo and Finale, which is a kind of informal symphony with no slow movement. READ MORE



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Pied Piper Fantasy

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John Corigliano
B. Feb. 16, 1938 in New York, New York

The following is John Corigliano’s description of the work:

“When James Galway approached me in 1978 with the idea of writing a flute concerto for him, my initial reaction was, “Oh no, not another wind concerto!” I had already written two (oboe, clarinet) and had planned that my next work would explore quite different territory. I was in a quandary. While I postponed committing myself on the idea of a flute concerto, I decided to put what I knew of the proposed event together to see if anything interesting and special would result. READ MORE



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Symphony No. 1

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Samuel Barber
B. Mar. 9, 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania
D. Jan. 23, 1981 in New York, New York

When he wrote his First Symphony, Samuel Barber was no longer a student but not quite yet an established composer.  Having been once turned down for the Prix de Rome, Barber in 1935 resubmitted the same works he had offered the first time and was accepted.  The prize consisted of $2,500 and free living quarters at the American Academy in Rome.  Having begun work on his First Symphony while waiting to hear the results of his second try for the Rome prize, he took the piece along with him, finishing it in 1936. READ MORE



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Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

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Leonard Bernstein
B. Aug. 25, 1918 in Lawrence, Massachusetts
D. Nov. 14, 1990 in New York, New York

Bernstein composed West Side Story between 1955 and 1957; it was given its first public performance Aug. 19, 1957 in Washington, D.C. at the National Theatre.  Luka Foss led the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in the first performance of the Symphonic Dances on Feb. 13, 1961. READ MORE



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Symphony No. 2

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Johannes Brahms
B. May 7, 1833 in Hamburg, Germany
D. April 3, 1897 in Vienna, Austria

In his Second Symphony, Brahms abandoned the tragic Romanticism, the Sturm und Drang, which had launched his earlier C Minor Symphony and formed the premise for its triumphant conclusion.   In its place he offered an expansive lyricism and, in many passages, an undeniably pastoral charm.  Karl Geiringer, one of the composer’s biographers, likened Brahms’s first two symphonies to the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies of Beethoven, in which epic struggles gives way to essentially tranquil nature music.  And yet there is more to Brahms’s Second Symphony than these observations imply.  An artist of Brahms’ ambition and power would not have limited himself in a major work to carefree sentiments and bucolic impressions.  And the imposing scale and emotional complexity of the Second Symphony leave no doubt that it is indeed a major work.
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Concerto for Cello and Orchestra

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Samuel Barber
B. March 9, 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania
D. Jan., 23, 1981 in New York City
 
Samuel Barber became one of the most consistently admired and frequently performed American composers of the 20th century.  He developed a strongly individual musical language rooted in the lyrical and dramatic traditions of Romanticism and he composed in standard musical forms inherited from the 18th and 19th centuries.  He was the nephew of American operatic contralto Louise Homer and his career was strongly encouraged by her and her husband, song composer Sidney Homer.  Barber’s masterpieces include the opera Vanessa, the reflective song cycle, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and the celebrated Adagio for Strings.
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Concertato for Orchestra “Moby Dick”

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Peter Mennin
B. May 17, 1923 in Erie, Pennsylvania
D. June 17, 1983 in New York City

Late in 1951, a libretto based on the Melville novel Moby Dick was submitted to the composer to consider as material for an opera.  Reading the libretto in rough sketch made him return to the novel with renewed interest.  The result of the re-study of this great work was the composition of the Concertato. In a letter discussing the work, Mennin cast some light on his composition: “This is a dramatic work for orchestra, motivated by the Melville novel, and depicts the emotional impact of the work as a whole, rather than musically describing isolated moments.”  
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Beyond Rivers of Vision

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James Lee, III
B. Nov. 26, 1975 in St. Joseph, Michigan

James Lee, III completed his bachelors degree in piano and his masters and doctorate degrees in composition from the University of Michigan. Some of his primary teachers included William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, and Michael Daugherty. Lee has composed works that have been premiered in Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, California, Indiana, Alabama, Minnesota, South Africa, Austria and Japan. Last season the DSO performed the world premiere of Lee’s A Different Soldier’s Story under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. READ MORE



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