Watch a video invitation from Jennifer Koh!
Young American violinist Jennifer Koh, known for her "passionate zeal and vivid contrasts" (The New York Times), returns to the NSO to play Samuel Barber's intimate, lush, and gorgeously lyrical Violin Concerto--one of the most revered and popular violin concertos by an American composer. The work culminates in a breathless "perpetual motion" that showcases the virtuoso characteristics of the violin, illuminated by magnificent flashes of color.
Hailed as "a kinetic force on the podium" by the New York Times, gifted Estonian American conductor Kristjan Järvi (whose father Neeme Järvi conducts the NSO two weeks later) leads a program that also includes George Enescu's Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1--which weaves together several lively Romanian folk songs and gypsy dances--as well as Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, the composer's last completed work, considered by many to be his finest for orchestra.
This trio of dances includes themes and fragments from several of Rachmaninoff's earlier works. The first dance contains vibrant allusions to jazz, including a solo passage for alto saxophone. The second dance's contemplative waltz motif evokes a sense of nocturnal melancholy. The final dance makes dramatic use of the Dies irae, the ancient chant for the dead that intrigued Rachmaninoff throughout much of his creative life.
Performance Timing: Part One - 36 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 36 min.
AfterWords: Thu., Oct. 31 performance followed by a free discussion with the artists and NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon.