Symphony North of Houston is once again delighted to invite you to relish the marvelous acoustics of Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball on Sunday, October 16, 2022, at 4:00 p.m., for the first concert of our 47th season, which will be under the baton of guest conductor Carlos Lara. We are also honoring Marie Winton Rogoff by acknowledging her 34 years of service as a playing and executive board member and by creating the Marie Winton Rogoff Lifetime Achievement Award.
Admission to our concerts is by donation. At the performance, we will be accepting donations by cash and check, but you may also donate online.
We look forward with excitement to the Symphony’s performance of the Arturo Marquez Danzon Number 2, which was inspired by a visit to a Veracruz ballroom. This is a piece new enough to the canon to allow us to make up our own minds about it without much written commentary from which to draw. From such a ballroom, you might hear an enthusiastic dance party that spills out of its large ballroom into the streets of Veracruz. As the dance party passes a small club on a side street, they stop to hear the theme played by a piano-violin duet. Then before sweeping all before them on the way to the Zocalo, they all join in a raucous dance on the square.
Beethoven’s fifth symphony cast a huge shadow over those who followed him on the symphonic landscape. Brahms, despite immense success with four symphonies, never wrote a fifth. Mahler’s fifth quotes Beethoven’s opening motif. Shostakovich’s fifth mirrors Beethoven’s. Peter Tchaikovsky was no exception — his notebook for the symphony contains the remark “resignation before Fate,” which may refer to the “fate” association ascribed to Beethoven’s theme — but his homage was, to this ear, more subtle than these other references: The motif he chose to open his symphony is, like Beethoven’s, found in each of the other movements, including a triumphant finale. The motif is explicitly quoted in each of the middle movements, but there are also rhythmic alterations of the motif to be found in other themes in those movements, the kind of mathematical musicality that makes so much of Tchaikovsky such a joy to hear.
Richard Wagner could sling brass fanfares with the best of them. Our Fall Concert opener is the prelude to Act III of his opera, Lohengrin, the source of a fanfare that every child knows is better than Raiders of the Lost Ark for sounding a call of triumph. Of course, the prelude doesn’t stop there, for its second theme will invariably get everyone in a church to turn their heads in anticipation of seeing a white veil.
We like to imagine hearing these pieces in the context in which they were first performed. For Lohengrin, imagine that you have never heard the Ride of the Valkyries or any symphonic work by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mahler or Richard Strauss. For the Tchaikovsky, forget his sixth symphony and his Slavic successors Glazunov, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, or Prokofiev. For the Marquez Danzon, you need only forget “Who Let the Dogs Out?”