UGA Symphony Orchestra March concert features works inspired by the season, the past

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UGA Symphony Orchestra

The UGA Symphony Orchestra (UGASO) performs its penultimate concert of the year in Hodgson Concert Hall on Thursday, March 30, at 8 p.m.

Under the batons of Mark Cedel, director of the orchestra, and Claudine Gamache, D.M.A. Conducting student, the UGASO will perform works from Brahms, Karl Goldmark and Stravinsky.

The program opens with Goldmark’s “Im Frühling,” which translates to “In the Spring.” Goldmark’s most popular overture, “In the Spring” is less about telling a story than it is about conveying a feeling likely well known to Goldmark and other Austrian natives who endure harsh mountain winters: the joy of the dawning of spring.

Stravinsky’s ballet “Le baiser de la fée,” or “The Fairy’s Kiss,” the Divertimento of which is the second work on the UGASO program, came together through no small amount of serendipity in 1927.

Ida Rubenstein commissioned a work from Stravinsky and expressed a desire to have something composed that was inspired by Tchaikovky’s music. Not only did Stravinsky have a fondness for Tchaikovsky that stretched back to his childhood, but when he was approached about the commission, the very next year would be the 35th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s death.

“It would give me an opportunity of paying my heartfelt homage to Tchaikovsky’s wonderful talent,” said Stravinsky.

The four-movement Divertimento was arranged by Stravinsky and Samuel Dushkin in 1934, six years after the premiere of the ballet, and revised in 1949.

The final piece of the program, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, also owes a debt to music from its past. Using styles and techniques originating long before the symphony’s 1885 completion, Brahms made his final symphony reflect the music he admired from his past, while still including several modern twists on convention.

The Brahms symphony will be conducted by Gamache, as part of her final D.M.A. recital.

“Brahms symphonies are always special to play, but the Fourth is a classe à part—it is, to this day, a huge monument of the symphonic repertoire,” said Gamache. “It is also the only one of Brahms’ four symphonies that was premiered by the composer himself.”

Gamache’s understanding of the work was shaped upon the knowledge that it was partially composed at the foot of the mountains in the Austrian town of Mürzzuschlag.

“In Brahms, and particularly in this symphony, the basses are the foundation of everything, the sound, the harmony, the timber,” said Gamache. “So, for me, the basses are the base of the mountain and everything else relies on them.”

Tickets to the concert are $12 each or $6 with a UGA student ID and can be purchased at pac.uga.edu or the PAC box office. Those unable to attend can watch the concert live on the Hodgson School’s website: music.uga.edu/streaming.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing, and to learn more about the School of Music, go to music.uga.edu.