LSM Newswire

Thursday, August 28, 2008

OSM / A Majestic opening to the OSM 's 75th Season


A MAJESTIC OPENING TO

THE OSM’S 75TH SEASON!

Kent Nagano conducts Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand:

Dress rehearsal open to the public

Zubin Mehta at the Notre-Dame Basilica

Joshua Bell in Corigliano’s Red Violin Concerto

Gershwin, Bernstein, Benoit, and All That Jazz!

Montreal, August 28, 2008 – Under the banner of bringing people together in a spirit of festivity, the 75th season of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal begins with the grand-scale Symphony of a Thousand by Gustav Mahler under the direction of Kent Nagano on September 9 and 10. More than 400 artists will be performing this massive work, which in addition to the Orchestra’s musicians features two mixed choruses, a boys choir, a girls choir, eight soloists and an offstage contingent of brass. “Imagine that the universe bursts into song,” Mahler wrote. “We no longer hear human voices, but those of planets and suns that revolve.” The public is also invited to attend the dress rehearsal, which is taking place on September 8 at 7 p.m.

The following week, on September 17, Zubin Mehta, a music director emeritus of the OSM, rejoins the musicians and a Montreal audience in an exceptional non-series concert presented at the imposing Notre-Dame Basilica. This setting lends itself admirably to a French program, which in this case will consist of Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, a work with a powerful emotional charge by composer Olivier Messiaen – the 100th anniversary of whose birth is being observed in 2008 – and the luminous Symphony No 3 (“Organ”) by Camille Saint-Saëns, one of the flagship works of the French symphonic repertoire.

On September 29 and 30, the remarkable violinist Joshua Bell, recipient of a Grammy, will be performing the Montreal premiere of American composer John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto, a work derived from his Oscar-winning soundtrack in 1999 to the film The Red Violin and which takes up some of the most memorable themes in the original score. This program will be under the direction of Jacques Lacombe, principal guest conductor with the OSM from 2002 to 2006.

Jazz musician David Benoit, meanwhile, is offering a tribute to jazz piano in a program that includes singers Ranee Lee and Michael Dozier, while flutists Timothy Hutchins and Carolyn Christie will be playing a concerto for two flutes by Telemann.

Information and reservations: 514-842-9951 or www.osm.ca

THE SEPTEMBER CONCERTS:

September 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier) Grand Concerts / Opening Night: Kent Nagano and the Symphony of a Thousand open the OSM’s 75th season! Kent Nagano, conductor; Jennifer Wilson, Aline Kutan, Mihoko Fujimura, Susan Platts, Simon O’Neil, Sergei Leiferkus, Reinhard Hagen, the OSM Chorus.

Public dress rehearsal: September 8 at 7 p.m.

September 17 at 7:30 p.m. (Notre-Dame Basilica) Non-series concert: Zubin Mehta at the Notre-Dame Basilica. Zubin Mehta, conductor.

September 23 at 8 p.m. (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier) Air Canada Classical Escapes: Gershwin, Bernstein, Benoit, and All That Jazz! Jean-François Rivest, conductor; David Benoit, piano; Michael Dozier, jazz singer; Ranee Lee, jazz singer.

September 24 at 10:30 a.m. (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier) Symphonic Matinees: Beloved Tchaikovsky. Marc David, conductor; Timothy Hutchins, OSM principal flute; Carolyn Christie, OSM second flute.

September 30 and October 1 at 8 p.m. (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier) Grand Concerts: Joshua Bell and The Red Violin. Jacques Lacombe, conductor; Joshua Bell, violin.

Information on the month’s concerts:

Opening Night

Grand Concerts

Kent Nagano and the Symphony of a Thousand

open the OSM’s 75th season!

Mahler liked to say that a symphony “must be like the world. It must embrace everything.” His Eighth, known as the “Symphony of a Thousand” in recognition of the forces deployed at its premiere in 1910, was written by Mahler for two mixed choirs, a boys chorus, a girls chorus, eight soloist, an extra brass section stationed offstage and an enormous orchestra! From the moment of its premiere, which was attended by many celebrities, it enjoyed great success, which has not waned to this day.

The work is in two parts. The first consists of a setting of a medieval Latin hymn and is almost exclusively vocal, the hymn being sung primarily by the choruses. The second part is based on the closing scene of Goethe’s Faust and is sometimes considered, owing to the numerous interventions of the soloist singers, more cantata than symphony. The work’s gigantic finale is described by Mahler in these terms: “Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound.”

The Symphony will be conducted by Kent Nagano, the OSM’s music director. An especially visionary composition, colossal and majestic and carrying a message of hope, it would be impossible to imagine a more appropriate work to launch the OSM’s 75th season. The same piece was used to mark the Orchestra’s 50th anniversary in 1984, when it was played at the Montreal Forum.

Grand Concerts

September 9 and 10 at 8:00 p.m.

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts

PUBLIC DRESS REHEARSAL ON SEPTEMBER 8 AT 7 P.M.

Kent Nagano, conductor

Jennifer Wilson, Magna Peccatrix

Janice Chandler-Eteme, Una Poenitentium

Aline Kutan, Mater Gloriosa

Mihoko Fujimura, Mulier Samaritana

Susan Platts, Maria Aegyptiaca

Simon O’Neill, Doctor Marianus

Sergei Leiferkus, Pater Ecstaticus

Reinhard Hagen, Pater Profundus

OSM Chorus

Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand”

Tickets starting at $24.75

Information and reservations: 514-842-9951 or www.osm.ca

Non-series concert:

Zubin Mehta at the Notre-Dame Basilica

The musicians of the OSM and the Montreal public will have the pleasure of a visit from Zubin Mehta, OSM music director from 1961 to 1967, for a concert that is part of the festivities surrounding the Orchestra’s 75th season. A conductor of stellar reputation, Zubin Mehta headed the New York Philharmonic from 1978 to 1991, was music director of the Bavarian State Opera from 1998 to 2006 and has been principal conductor at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino since 1985.

For this occasion he is conducting Olivier Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, a work composed in 1964 as a commission from André Malraux, France’s Minister of Cultural Affairs at the time, to honour the dead of two world wars. “It was conceived to be played in a church,” the composer explained, “taking resonance for granted, as well as the ambience and even the echoing of sounds that can be had in such a setting.” A work on a grand scale, it builds on notions of sound-colour and space, colour expressing itself by way of atypical instrumentation (woodwinds, brass and metallic percussion), and space through the variety of registers and the treatment of resonance and silence.

Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 (“Organ”), meanwhile, is a classic of the French repertoire orchestral. It is dedicated to Franz Liszt, who wrote a great number of works for organ to affirm, in the evening of his life, his faith in God, something else he and Messiaen have in common. Saint-Saëns admirably blends the colours of the piano with those of the orchestra (as Messiaen would later do in his Turangalîlâ Symphony) and uses the organ in a register that is sometimes intimate and sometimes brilliant.

Non-series concert

September 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Notre-Dame Basilica

Zubin Mehta, conductor

Olivier Messiaen Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum

Camille Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3, “Organ”

Tickets starting at $22.50

Information and reservations: 514-842-9951 or www.osm.ca

Sponsors: Air Canada and Fondation J.A. DeSève

Air Canada Classical Escapes:

Gershwin, Bernstein, Benoit, and All That Jazz!

A five-time Grammy nominee for his extraordinary contribution to contemporary jazz, David Benoit is one of the most acclaimed jazz pianists of the last few decades. Composer of the soundtracks for several films and television programs, including a number of “Peanuts” specials, he cites as musical influences Henry Mancini, John Berry, Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson. In a second segment he will be joined on stage by Michael Dozier, a jazz singer who was part of Corona Theatre’s “Esquire Show Bar – La Revue” this summer, and by Ranee Lee, one of the most popular jazz singers in Canada, in some of jazz’s most memorable standards.

Jean-François Rivest, OSM conductor in residence, will also be leading the Orchestra in the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein’s celebrated musical, and in excerpts from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a groundbreaking synthesis of European orchestral techniques, American jazz and popular music.

Air Canada Classical Escapes

September 23 at 8 p.m.

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts

Jean-François Rivest, conductor

David Benoit, piano

Michael Dozier, jazz singer

Ranee Lee, jazz singer

Leonard Bernstein West Side Story, Symphonic Dances

George Gershwin Porgy and Bess, excerpts

Works by Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, David Benoit.

Tickets starting at $24.75

Information and reservations: 514-842-9951 or www.osm.ca

Sponsors: Air Canada and Fondation J.A. DeSève

Symphonic Matinees:

Beloved Tchaikovsky

Artistic director of the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil and principal conductor with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Marc David is much in demand as a guest conductor not only in Canada but in the U.S., Mexico and Europe as well. Here he leads the OSM in Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, one of the most popular in the literature. On the theme of destiny, the composer vacillates between “total submission” and his doubts, laments and reproaches of destiny. A single theme undergoes metamorphoses through the work’s four movements.

Timothy Hutchins and Carolyn Christie, OSM principal flute and second flute, respectively, will also be heard in this concert, in the Concerto for Two Flutes in E Minor by Georg Philipp Telemann, an especially prolific composer who was a contemporary of Bach’s. These lively pages offer a rare opportunity to hear a concerto written for two flutes.

Opening the program is the “symphonic fantasy” by Pierre Mercure, Kaléidoscope, which since its premiere in 1948 has become one of the most frequently performed Canadian compositions.

Symphonic Matinees

September 24 at 10:30 a.m.

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts

Marc David, conductor

Timothy Hutchins, OSM principal flute

Carolyn Christie, OSM second flute

Pierre Mercure Kaléidoscope

Georg Philipp Telemann Concerto for Two Flutes in E Minor

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

Tickets starting at $24.75

Information and reservations: 514-842-9951 or www.osm.ca

Sponsor: Imperial Oil Foundation

Grand Concerts:

Joshua Bell and The Red Violin

Violinist Joshua Bell, recipient of a Grammy and the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, hailed as much by critics as he is cheered by the public, revisits the OSM in John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto. The work, in four movements, dedicated to the memory of the composer’s father, concertmaster with the New York Philharmonic for close to a quarter-century, is an extension of the music for the movie The Red Violin, which received an Academy Award for best original soundtrack in 1999. The composer first extracted a Chaconne from it, a concert piece that Joshua Bell has performed on disc, but he wanted to be able to offer the violin an impassioned and romantic concerto. The work was premiered by Joshua Bell and recorded by him last year with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. This will be its first presentation in Montreal.

Jacques Lacombe, principal guest conductor with the OSM from 2002 to 2006, and whose career was honoured in 2005 by a Prix Opus for his achievements abroad, will also lead the OSM in Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, one of the most remarkable orchestral works of the 20th century. According to the composer himself, the five movements of the Concerto describe “a gradual transition from the severity of the first movement to a life-affirming finale.” Opening the program, Ramon Humet, winner of the Olivier Messiaen International prize at the first edition of the OSM’s International Composition Prize, offers us a premiere of his work Escenas de viento.

Grand Concerts

September 30 and October 1 at 8 p.m.

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts

Jacques Lacombe, conductor

Joshua Bell, violin

Ramon Humet Escenas de viento, world premiere, OSM commission

John Corigliano The Red Violin Concerto

Béla Bartók Concerto for Orchestra

Tickets starting at $24.75

Information and reservations: 514-842-9951 or www.osm.ca

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal is presented by Hydro-Québec

in association with National Bank

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