PORTLAND – Portland Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Robert Moody will lead the Portland Symphony Orchestra for the Sunday Classical Concert on April 27, 2:30 p.m. This concert features emotionally charged pieces by composers who felt deep personal connections to their works: Dvorák, Rachmaninoff and Brahms. Guest pianist Bryan Wallick will perform.

The concert will open with Dvorák’s My Home (Mein Heim), followed by Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and conclude with Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F Major.

My Home was composed by Dvorák as part of the play Josef Kajetán Tyl, which detailed the origins of Czech theater and the life of the title playwright. My Home was written to include elements of “Kde domov muj?” – a song written by Tyl that later became the Czech national anthem, holding a place in Dvorák’s heart. Dvorák also brought in pieces of a popular folk song usually performed with Tyl’s plays, for an end result that paid homage to his homeland and proved patriotic music could be impeccably written.

Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was inspired by Nicolò Paganini, known as the best violinist anyone had ever heard. Paganini was an intensely passionate musician whose skeletal figure and ferocity on stage led to rumors that he had sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his mastery of the violin. Years after Paganini’s death, Rachmaninoff tapped into his own elaborate imagination to resurrect these rumors in a tribute to Paganini that includes several musical surprises for listeners.

The afternoon concert closes with Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. In a letter to a close friend, Brahms declared that his personal motto was Frei Aber Froh – “Free But Happy.” Perhaps to prove his point, Brahms chose to use the initials of his motto, F-A-F, as a resounding element in his Symphony No. 3. The motto appears from the very start of the piece, with a melody of F-A-flat-F, a pattern which continues to appear throughout the first movement. Those knowledgeable about music will notice that the motive is highly contradictory for a piece expected to be in F Major. With an unsettled feeling throughout most of the piece, Brahms wraps it up with the F-Major listeners have been expecting from the beginning.

Recognized as one of the great talents of his generation, pianist Bryan Wallick has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Recent engagements include appearances with the Cincinnati Pops, Kentucky Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, and a solo recital debut at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. Wallick experiences synesthesia, which affects his senses so that he sees colors with each musical pitch he hears. He recently received a grant from the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts that has allowed him to develop a computer program that projects his images of colored visions during synesthesia presentations.

The concert is preceded by a Concert Conversation in the Rehearsal Hall at Merrill Auditorium, beginning an hour and 15 minutes prior to the concert’s starting time, and followed by a PostConcert Q&A with the artists on stage.

The concert can be heard on MPBN on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 8PM. The Portland Symphony’s 2013-14 season is sponsored by WEX.

Tickets range from $25 – $62 and are available through PortTIX at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. Phone and internet orders are subject to per-ticket handling fees. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Special pricing for students, seniors, and groups may be available. Subscriptions (up to 20% off single ticket prices) and Compose Your Own packages (10% off single ticket prices) are available all season long.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: