The brochure for our classical season.
By TIMOTHY MANGAN
Music director Carl St.Clair and President John Forsyte unveiled plans today for Pacific Symphony’s 40th anniversary classical season in 2018-19. The schedule includes eight subscription programs (in multiple performances) conducted by St.Clair, who celebrates his 29th season as the orchestra’s leader. The Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation again sponsors the classical series, which is presented at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.
The season opens Sept. 27-29 with concerts that commemorate the 40th anniversary. The program will include a new version of Frank Ticheli’s “Shooting Stars,” written for the orchestra for its 25th anniversary and updated here; and a performance of Ravel’s “Boléro” coupled with a newly commissioned film documenting the history of Pacific Symphony. Van Cliburn competition gold medalist Olga Kern will also return to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
The orchestra marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth in the season’s second program (Oct. 25-27). St.Clair leads this tribute to his mentor, which includes the “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs,” with Symphony principal clarinetist Joseph Morris as soloist; the “Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium),” with violinist Augustin Hadelich as soloist; the “Chichester Psalms”; and selections from his Broadway musicals sung by Celena Shafer.
None of the six symphonies of the Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) turn up very often on U.S. concert programs, and that’s a shame. The set is certainly one of the most remarkable and satisfying of the 20th century (though No. 1 was written in 1892). The reason they aren’t performed here much is perhaps hard to say with certainty, but I think it probably has something to do with our programming in general, which is overwhelmingly focused on German and Russian classics. There are simply no Danish works in the standard repertoire, Nielsen or otherwise.
At any rate, here’s a rather athletic and terrific live performance of the Third, with Leonard Bernstein conducting the Royal Danish Orchestra in 1965. (The sound is decent; you can even hear Bernstein stomping at several points. The picture is virtually high def.) Bernstein at one time took up the Nielsen cause with some enthusiasm, and recorded the symphonies 2-5 with the New York Philharmonic, as well as the flute and clarinet concertos. He also recorded the Third with the Royal Danish.