Friday-Sunday, November 27-29
Michael Francis, guest conductor
Janice Carissa, piano (Underwritten by Almy Legacy Fund)
WALTON Johannesburg Festival Overture
W.A. MOZART Piano Concerto No. 24
ELGAR Symphony No. 1
British composer Edward Elgar is so much more than “Pomp and Circumstance.” Be here Thanksgiving weekend as conductor Michael Francis leads us on a profound journey through the great masterpiece of Elgar’s First Symphony.
Among friends, the witty chap was often the life of the party. Other times, especially after criticism, Elgar suffered from extreme mood swings. His First Symphony reflects these internal highs and lows. From shadowy, furtive passages to joyous optimism, Elgar shares a compelling narrative of the beauty and suffering we all face as part of the human condition. Toward the end, hope emerges as a flicker of light, like a candle in a hurricane, starting in the low strings and expanding to the entire orchestra for a triumphant finale.
But first, it’s a wild romp with William Walton’s Johannesburg Festival Overture, commissioned for the South African city’s 70th anniversary celebration. Walton mixes catchy tunes with fun percussion parts — maracas, castanets and rumba sticks — for this “non-stop gallop.” This jaunty, devil-may-care work is sure to leave you smiling.
In contrast, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 is a darker, brooding work filled with hauntingly beautiful melodies. This advanced concerto calls for the largest orchestra of any Mozart concerto, and the result is a grand, sophisticated piece, showcasing why Mozart is one of the original G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) composers. Hear 20-year-old piano prodigy Janice Carissa perform this exemplary model of Mozart’s genius.