The program is all about storytelling in a very direct sense. Obviously any piece of music tells some kind of story, but these are concrete stories in a more literal sense. We’ll start with Alan Ridout’s “Ferdinand the Bull.” I perform it on my kids show Bach Yard a lot, and I decided it was time to introduce adults to it. It’s a great piece of music for the violin and it’s also a fabulous story. The new concertmaster, Dennis Kim will play the violin part and I’ll narrate. Dennis and I had a chance to perform the piece a few months ago for an audience of 3 and 4 year olds and they adored it, so we’re very excited to bring it to the Café Ludwig audience.
Then we have the two Songs for Voice, Viola, and Piano, Op. 91 of Brahms; these are really two of my favorite pieces ever. You need a very special violist to pull them off, and since we have Meredith Crawford as the Pacific Symphony’s principal viola now, I knew it was time to program these. In a way, they are lullaby songs, about a longing that has been assuaged. But in typical Brahmsian fashion, they’re both a lullaby for a small child and also a farewell at the end of a life, a combination of two kinds of goodbyes. They’re very powerful songs. We have an incredible mezzo-soprano, Kirstin Chávez, coming to sing with us. She’s worked with Pacific Symphony before, and I’m looking forward to working with her. After intermission, she’ll sing a touching collection by Benjamin Britten called “A Charm of Lullabies.”
We’ll finish the program with Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale” in the trio version for clarinet, violin and piano, with Dennis Kim and Joe Morris, the wonderful principal clarinetist of Pacific Symphony. In this case I’ll be telling the story verbally as well as musically at the piano, as well as narrating it. This is, like “Ferdinand,” a very direct and programmatic storyline. It’s a piece with great virtuosity and myriad musical colors. Overall, the program is full of interesting and varied stories and shows off some of our best Pacific Symphony musicians.
– Orli Shaham, pianist, curator and host of Café Ludwig
To find information on this concert, or to purchase tickets, visit the concert page here.