Houston Symphony Broadcasts

A Rousing Russian Romp

Featuring dramatic works by two of Russia’s greatest orchestral composers.

Johannes Moser
Johannes Moser, soloist for this 2014 concert with the symphony.

On the next Houston Symphony Broadcast, former music director Hans Graf leads the orchestra in music by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, with guest cellist Johannes Moser!

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is arguably the most famous love story, following the tragic romance between Romeo of house Montague and Juliet of house Capulet. Naturally, both families are bitter enemies, and the love between the two is forbidden. Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy is a musical depiction of the tempestuous tale, with a memorable love theme that has taken on a life of its own in other media like television shows and movies.

Pezzo capriccioso has a slightly misleading title. If you imagine something like Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol or even Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, this work for cello and orchestra is comparatively quite somber, though it does certainly stay true to the typical musical capriciousness of the style.

Following that, possibly Tchaikovsky’s most famous work for cello and orchestra, the Variations on a Rococo Theme! Rococo was an artistic style that became popular in the late eighteenth century, sort of sandwiched between the musical Baroque and Classical periods. Thus, the theme in question has that simple, refined classical quality of a theme by Mozart or Haydn.

The concert concludes with the Symphony No. 3 by Sergei Prokofiev. In the late 1920s, Prokofiev had written an opera, The Fiery Angel, which wasn’t even premiered until 1955, two years after his death. Still, music from the opera did find its way to the concert hall in the form of this symphony. The symphony itself also recycles its own material across movements.

Tune in for this concert Sunday (2/12) on News 88.7 or Wednesday (2/15) on Houston Public Media Classical at 8 PM.

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