San Diego Symphony Presents “Pines of Rome”

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The San Diego Symphony is bringing the San Diego area a bit more culture in the coming weeks. Beginning Friday, November 19th, San Diego Symphony’s newest showcase entitled Pines of Rome will feature the works of four different composers, one of which is premiering a new original work.  Along with talented musicians, the performance will feature conductor Jahja Ling, violinist Jeff Thayer, and harpist Julie Ann Smith.

The San Diego Entertainer is giving away tickets to see this performance.  Sign up at the end of this article for your chance to win!  The Giveaway will end Wednesday, November 17th at noon, and winners will be announced the same day.

Pines of Rome will be performed in the Copley Symphony Hall. A three night affair, the performance will take place on November 19th and 20th at 8pm and on November 21st with a matinee showing at 2pm. Tickets range from $20 to $96. Use promo code SDE to get $10 off your ticket through 11/17. The show will also feature composers Gioacchino Rossini, Michael Torke, Bedřich Smetana, and Ottorino Respighi.

Violinist and Concertmaster Jeff Thayer

The show will begin with the Overture to William Tell composed by Rossini. The Italian composer’s final opera, William Tell, premiered August 3, 1829 and was marked with great success. Written in an unusual structure, the Overture is divided into four striking parts. The first section is undeniably remarkable and invokes a sense of nobility. Simply marked Allegro, the second section illustrates a violent storm with strings and woodwinds suggesting thunder and rain drops. The aftermath of the storm is presented by the third section with a solo of the English horn and of the flute, a calmness and sense of thanks envelops the scene. Marked Allegro vivace, the closing section is well known for its astonishing first violins and its later fame as television show, The Lone Ranger’s theme song. Conductor Jahja Ling is excited for the Overture, “the opening for the cellos is not sad or gloomy. It is cantabile, like a beautiful song. The whole thing is a wonderful piece, with some fine solos, and its universal popularity makes it a great opener.”

Harpist Julie Ann Smith

The world premiere of American composer Michael Torke’s Cactus will be the second piece showcased. The piece was commissioned by the San Diego Symphony with the generosity of board member Sam Ersan. Commissioned specifically for concertmaster Jeff Thayer and harpist Julie Smith, Cactus invokes a sense of being stranded in the desert where only a single plant can flourish—the cactus. With its budding flower and not-so glamorous life, the piece presents the hidden beauty of the cactus in a new unpredictable light. Jahja Ling notes the importance of presenting a premiering piece, “It is important during our centennial year to have been able to commission a new work by a leading composer, Michael Torke… Torke’s music is very accessible and can also be quite exuberant and, at times, avant garde.”

The next piece will be Three Dances from The Bartered Bride, composed by musician Bedřich Smetana. Czech nationalist as well as composer, Smetana is known for his Czech pride. His work The Bartered Bride is known for its use of a Czech setting, characters, costumes and customs, as well as being one of the first operas with a libretto in Czech. The opera is a Romeo and Juliet-like loves story that takes place in a Czech village. The main characters, Marenka and Jenik, are in love but must overcome the obstacles that include Marenka’s parents’ desire to marry Marenka off to a rich husband. Very successful in Europe, The Bartered Bride did not reach the United States until February 19, 1909 in New York City.  As a part of the Pines of Rome showcase, the Three Dances will be “exuberant and virtuosic, but still representing a good contrast with the William Tell Overture,” says conductor Ling.

Internationally Renowned Conductor Jahja Ling

The final piece for the November performances will be Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome. Written in 1924, Pines of Rome is a part of an orchestral triptych. Inspired by the Italian city, Pines of Rome takes a closer look at the pine trees that grow throughout the city. Respighi’s works are aimed to create an atmosphere more than telling a story or depicting actions. Using the pines trees as inspiration, Respighi’s opera is comprised of four movements that create a painting-like description full of colors and tones. In Pines of Rome, Rome’s pine trees are characterized as witnesses for events in Roman life and symbols that retain Rome’s memories and visions. According to Ling, “[Pines of Rome is]…always a great climax to any concert. A great descriptive piece, it is also a wonderful showpiece for the orchestra, and the special effects, such as the extra brass and the recorded nightingale song make it an audience favorite. Besides, it also brings in the organ to give it even more depth.”

Musicans of the San Diego Symphony

Pines of Rome is a must-see event. This wide array of works by classic and contemporary composers will make these performances well worth an evening or afternoon at the symphony.

Remember to sign up below for your chance to win tickets for what promises to be a spectacular performance!

Check out a video of Michael Torke on his new work Cactus.

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