The Hays Symphony Orchestra will perform compositions by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov under the baton of guest conductor Nicholas Bell at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, in Fort Hays State University’s Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
This second concert in the symphony’s Russian Masterworks Series also includes a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m., given by HSO horn player Breanna Ellison. A post-concert reception will give audience and performers a chance to mingle while enjoying light refreshments.
And the best news is, all orchestra concerts this season will be free thanks to the enormous success of the first concert. Tickets will be available at the box office before the show or in advance by contacting the symphony at email@example.com.
Russian music is always exciting, and the program will feature a soloist from Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic. Guest cellist Sunnat Ibragimov has won several prizes as an artist of creativity, passion and technical command. He is sponsored by NAVO, a new organization, whose mission is “to establish world-class level of performances in the Midwest by bringing together (regional) artists and those who have performed around the globe.”
Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme,” opus 33, 1886, for cello and orchestra, will begin the program. The composer intended the work as homage to Mozart, but it didn’t turn out exactly as planned. As often happens when a composer doesn’t play the intended solo instrument, Tchaikovsky gave the manuscript to Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, the intended cellist, for technical adjustments.
Instead of sticking to the cello parts, Fitzenhagen rewrote the whole piece, which has become the standard edition. Even so, its seven variations are pleasant, graceful and easy to listen to.
Another composition by Tchaikovsky, “Pezzo Capriccioso” (capricious piece) opus 62, 1887, follows. In contrast to the lightness of “Rococo Variations,” “Pezzo,” which he composed in a single week, is decidedly melancholy in tone, probably due to the death of a friend. The “Capricious” in the title refers to “Tchaikovsky’s fanciful treatment of various aspects” of the work (Wikipedia).
The concert will conclude with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” 1888. This, with its beautiful orchestrations and exotic melodies, is one of the most beloved compositions in the entire orchestral repertoire. Scheherazade is a heroic queen who frames the tales of “A Thousand and One Nights” or the “Arabian Nights,” a collection of Middle Eastern and Indian tales.
In this piece, listeners will hear tales of storms and shipwreck, thieves, enchantment and love woven into a colorful musical adventure.