North Carolina Symphony
The North Carolina Symphony presents the third and final installment of its popular NCS Matinees Friday Favorites Series for the 2011/12 season in downtown Raleigh's Meymandi Concert Hall on Friday, May 4 at 12:00 p.m. Resident Conductor William Henry Curry leads the orchestra in masterworks that share an Italian flavor in this relaxed, 90-minute concert.
A longer version of the program, titled "Viva Italia," will also be performed at three venues throughout the state. Lee Auditorium inSouthern Pines's Pinecrest High School hosts the concert on Thursday, May 3 at 8:00 p.m., with a pre-concert talk by Sandhills Community College professor Timothy Haley in the band room beginning at 7:00 p.m.
The orchestra performs in Seabrook Auditorium, on the campus of Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, on Saturday, May 5 at 8:00 p.m.
The final concert takes place in Memorial Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tuesday, May 8 at 8:00 p.m. Dr. Letitia Glozer of UNC-Chapel Hill will deliver a pre-concert talk in UNC's Gerrard Hall beginning at 7:00 p.m.
"Within the Italian theme I wanted to have as much variety as possible," says Maestro Curry of this colorful and inviting concert lineup. "The program includes a symphony (Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, "Italian"), an overture (Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture), a waltz (Strauss's Where the Lemon Trees Bloom), a work for chamber orchestra (Wolf's Italian Serenade), a work originally written for six solo strings (Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence) and one of the great orchestral sonic spectaculars of all time, Capriccio Italien, also by Tchaikovsky."
Common threads in this wide-ranging program include more than just the Italian theme, however. Four of the five pieces feature the characteristic quick triple meter of the popular Neapolitan folk dance, the tarantella. According to popular legend, furiously dancing the tarantella would cure the victim of the poisonous bite of a tarantula spider.
Also featured is the five composers' love of Italy itself, translated into sparkling music. "For centuries, especially for people of the north, Italy has represented almost a mythical land of bright sun, vivid colors and uninhibited emotions," says Curry. "All of the composers on this concert visited Italy and were charmed by what they heard and saw and created these brilliant musical postcards, which became some of their most popular works." It was no accident, then, that Strauss's original title for Where the Lemon Trees Bloom was Bella Italia, or Beautiful Italy.
Curry himself has also been seduced by the vibrant country. "One of my favorite vacations was to Italy about 10 years ago," he says. "I thought it would be fun to construct a program of musical mementos by some of the famous composer/tourists that visited." With a program of works written by composers who share this view of the country, as well as a conductor with a passion for all things Italian, this performance is sure to be a delight.
For tickets, visit the North Carolina Symphony website at www.ncsymphony.org or call North Carolina Symphony Audience Services at 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.