The North Carolina Symphony hits the road to bring works by three of classical music’s boldest composers to Henderson, Southern Pines and New Bern, April 20-25. Music Director Grant Llewellyn leads the Symphony in “German Masters,” featuring Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3, Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony and soloist Peng Li performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major.
The concerts begin at Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center in Henderson, on Tuesday, April 20, at 8:00 p.m. Weekend performances follow at Pinecrest High School’s Lee Auditorium in Southern Pines, Saturday, April 24, at 8:00 p.m., and New Bern Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern, Sunday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m.
Llewellyn and Li take over the evening with a commanding masterwork in Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major. Likely composed as royal wedding music, the piece—along with Haydn’s only other surviving cello concerto, the C Major—is among the most delightful solo works in the classical canon.
Li, in his second season as the Symphony’s assistant principal cellist, brings no mean amount of skill to the demanding composition. The Texas native has performed with the Houston and San Antonio symphonies and was principal cellist for the premiere of Elliot Carter’s opera What’s Next? under the baton of legendary conductor James Levine.
Haydn is also firmly within Llewellyn’s grasp. Former music director of the Handel and Haydn Society, the conductor has long been placed among the world’s best interpreters of baroque music.
Also on the program is the third of Bach’s four orchestral suites, delivering a precise introduction to his influential style. An overture introduces a series of diverse dances rigorously tied to the composer’s belief in musical balance. With the Third Orchestral Suite, the orchestra presents one of Bach’s best-loved melodies, the haunting, persistent second movement, Air on the G String.
The concert concludes with Schumann’s transformative Third Symphony, “Rhenish,” born out of the composer’s life in Rhineland during a three-year appointment in Düsseldorf. “It’s very much inspired by the Rhine,” says Llewellyn of a work perfectly evoking the “sensibilities of that part of the world.”
For tickets to the April 20 performance in Henderson, call 252.492.2954 or 252.430.8640.
Tickets to the April 24 and 25 performances in Southern Pines and New Bern range from $25 to $40. Lee Auditorium in located in Pinecrest High School, 250 Voit Gilmore Lane, Southern Pines, NC 28387. New Bern Riverfront Convention Center is located at 203 S. Front St., New Bern, NC 28560.
North Carolina Symphony
Grant Llewellyn, Music Director
Peng Li, cello
April 20, 2010, 8pm
Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center, Henderson
April 24, 2010, 8pm
Lee Auditorium, Pinecrest High School, Southern Pines
April 25, 2010, 7:30pm
New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, New Bern
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 (ca. 1720)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
III. Gavottes I and II
Cello Concerto in D Major, H.VIIb:2 (1783)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)
Peng Li, cello
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 97, “Rhenish” (1850)
Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
II. Scherzo: Sehr mässig
III. Nicht schnell