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These concerts are generously sponsored by the Athena T. Blackburn Endowed Fund for Russian Music.
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ELIZABETH OGONEK'S MOONDOG IS SPONSORED BY SOLOMON B. CERA AND TOBY FISCHER CERA.
THE WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMANCEs OF ELIZABETH OGONEK’S MOONDOG are SUPPORTED BY THE PHYLLIS C. WATTIS FUND FOR NEW WORKS OF MUSIC.
Thursday matinee concerts are endowed by a gift in memory of Rhoda Goldman.
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony is a sunny celebration filled with folk tunes he heard on a holiday with family. Sergei Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto contrasts a darkly lyrical opening and a vigorous finale, performed here by violinist James Ehnes. To open the program conducted by Elim Chan, the SF Symphony commissioned a new work from Elizabeth Ogonek, whose Sleep & Unremembrance was hailed last season as “a marvelous musical dreamscape” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
At A Glance
Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 was written around the time he ended his touring career in the West to return to Russia, which he had left two decades earlier following the Revolution (he first arrived in America through Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco). The piece unites all four streams in his compositional style: classical, modern, motoric, and lyrical.
Although Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was far less of a musical nationalist than his contemporaries known as the “Mighty Handful” or “Russian Five,” he did entertain an ongoing interest in Slavic folk music, which reached a high-point in his Symphony No. 2. Tchaikovsky would ultimately travel a path more beholden to Germanic symphonic traditions, but this energetic score suggests fleetingly that the Russian Five could have become the Russian Six.