Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla
Rota: Divertimento Concertante
for Double Bass and Orchestra
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
Hailed as "a
conductor of unquestionable strength and authority" by The New York Times,
was named by the Los
Angeles Times in 2009 as "one of six female conductors
breaking the glass podium." Ioannides is the current music director of the
Spartanburg (SC) Philharmonic and previously served in that post for the El
Paso Symphony Orchestra. Past positions include assistant conductor of the
Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops and music director of the Cincinnati
Symphony Youth Orchestra. She joins us as the
first of four finalists in the TSO’s Music Director Search.
Our friendly and talented principal bassist, Christopher Burns,
shows the incredible versatility of the king of string instruments with Nino Rota’s
colorful Divertimento. Originally from South Florida, Chris Burns received his
Bachelors of Music in Double Bass Performance from the New England Conservatory
in Boston and was a Fulbright Scholar at the
Universität für Musik in Vienna,
Austria. While in Vienna, he was principal bass of the Wiener
Jeunese Orchester and the Sinfonietta Baden.
After returning to the United States,
Chris was an active freelance bassist in Texas
for the Houston Bach Society and Opera in the Heights before moving to Tacoma in 2008.
Audience members may have never heard Nino Rota's rarely performed Divertimento. But
they are probably far more familiar with Rota's music than they know.
Rota is a highly successful composer of film scores, including the
soundtrack music for The Godfather series.
The double bass is so called because its parts are played a full octave lower than notated. Although it resembles in shape the class of instruments known as viols, it is considered a member of the violin family of instruments. Unlike the other members of the violin family, whose strings are tuned a fifth apart, the double bass's four strings are tuned in intervals of a fourth like those of a guitar. The bass is rarely featured as a solo instrument, and so this concert will be an opportunity for the audience to hear the many subtle timbres and colors this huge instrument is capable of.
Written at the
height of the Stalinist reign of terror, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony is a masterpiece
of defiance and human triumph. At the time, Sarah Ioannides reveals, "several of Shostakovich’s relatives and friends had been taken away, and
Shostakovich feared for his own life." A slightly edgy previous composition had caused Shostakovich to fall out of favor with the brutal and mercurial Soviet leader. He was basically told to write patriotic, uplifting music that would advance the party -- and no more "subversive" music with decadent Western influences -- or else. The resulting Fifth Symphony is perhaps the most brilliantly covert act of civil disobedience in the history of art. Listening it with the benefit of history, it seems impossible that Stalin and his party thugs could have missed the bitter irony, rage and sorrow of this great work, a furious satire of Soviet patriotic music.