Midcoast Symphony Orchestra to perform music spanning centuries
The Midcoast Symphony Orchestra (MSO), performs music by composers who are “Tried and True, Plus a Newer Crew” in concert on March 18, 7 p.m., Lewiston at the Riverfront Performing Arts/Franco Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston; and March 19, 2:30 p.m., at the Orion Performing Arts Center, 50 Republic Ave. in Topsham.
The orchestra welcomes guest conductor Hiroya Miura to the podium for these performances that include music already well known and some gaining new popularity. Miura, a native of Sendai, Japan, has been active as a composer, conductor, and performer in North America. He is Associate Professor of music at Bates College, where he teaches music theory and composition, and directs the college orchestra.
The program opens with “Propellers in the Sun,” written in 2016 by Tanner Porter. The piece is, according to Porter, “loosely based on the Icarus myth; flight in the piece is represented by the coughing and hum of propellers.”
Another lesser-known piece on the program is Florence Price’s “Symphony No. 3.” Recently, music by Price, an African-American woman, is gaining popularity as the classical music world looks to more diverse representation. She wrote this symphony in 1938, but after her death in 1953, was not widely remembered until now. The symphony has beautiful melodies similar to music of the late 1800s but with a jazzy feel, including a different take on ragtime.
The tried-and-true pieces on the program include Mozart’s Symphony No. 35—the “Haffner” symphony. In 1782 his father, a well-known musician in his day, commissioned this work from his son. According to music historian and MSO violinist Mary Hunter, “Mozart wrote it within the space of 10 days, while also finishing a serenade and the arrangement for winds of his opera “Die Entführung aus dem Serail.” He was not delighted to receive the commission in the midst of all this work, but took enough trouble over it that he was late sending it off, declaring to his father that he was ‘really unable to scribble off inferior stuff.’”
The orchestra will also perform Arcangelo Corelli’s “Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 4,” written in 1714. This is one of his 12 concerti grossi and one of his most popular. A concerto grosso is a type of music from the Baroque period with a small group of soloists and string orchestra. MSO violinists Carol Preston and Mary Hunter, and cellist Karen Jung make up the solo group. This piece replaces the originally scheduled “Concerto for Two Violins,” by Bach, with violin soloists Rohan Smith (MSO’s music director) and Eva Gruesser.
Complete concert and ticket information is at MidcoastSymphony.org. Tickets are $24.50 in advance, $25 at the concert, and free for ages 18 and under and for college students with ID. Audiences are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at MidcoastSymphony.org or by calling the box office at (207) 481-0790.