The famed choreographer Twyla Tharp created children’s ballet The Princess and the Goblin with the Atlanta Ballet last year with much acclaim. It was her first that included dancers of all ages, and I remember when she spoke about this 20 year project that was in the making about how she chose the backbone to be the music of Schubert. She spoke to how Schubert’s music ignites the spirit of the soul. I always think of that when I experience a Schubert piece.
This weekend the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Roberto Abbdo, is performing two masterful works by this acclaimed composer Schubert. The Overture to Die Zauberharfe (Rosamunde) D.644 (1820) was a piece commissioned for Schubert in the autumn of 1823 for a new play, Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus. It has been written that Schubert wrote feverishly to finish the piece and borrowed from earlier work. He completed it two days before the performance and the orchestra was upset that they did not have time to practice. The play is long forgotten but the piece lives on. The second piece of Schubert is encompassed in Luciano Berio Rendering for Orchestra included parts that would have been Schubert’s tenth symphony. Schubert was working on his “Tenth Symphony,” but died before he was able to finish it.
The highlight of the evening to hear our own Violin Chair David Coucheron take his 1725 Stradivarius and make it sing in Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concert in E Minor, Opus 64 (1844). Courcheron one of the youngest chairs in the country showcases his mad skills in this piece. He noted in the end that at the age of 5 (he started playing when he was 3) his father was at the breakfast table and shared that his dream was to someday play this Mendelssohn piece with a full orchestra, he would probably never get the chance but that his son would. David looked at his father and thought he was crazy and now this day, this prophecy has come to be. He thanked his parents for their support and proceeded to give an encore. The violin connects to us because they say it is the most similar to the human voice.
If things could not get better with these serious pieces, the finale was Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to Guillaume Tell (1829). Not familiar with Rossini’s work, I bet you are, this piece became part of the pop culture lexicon as the intro to the famed show The Long Ranger. It’s an absolutely tremendous show and there are two more chances to experience this remarkable moment, on Saturday March 9 and Sunday March 10. Get your tickets at www.ASO.org In the program in a note form President and CEO Dr. Stanley E. Romanstein, there has been a delay in the announcement of the new 2013-14 season. The ASO is going through changes and they are working on bringing a new season with the balance of innovation and tradition. Their goal is engagement and the new season should be announced in April. Bravo to all the good work of the ASO, for more information and to keep up or simply buy tickets visit: www.ASO.org or call (404)733-5000.