Lynn Harrell plays a neglected masterpiece, the Cello Concerto of Edouard Lalo, on Oct. 14-16.
The Madison Symphony Orchestra has announced the coming 86th season for 2011-2012. It will be a kaleidoscopic array of offerings, sure to attract subscribers both new and old, as well as purchasers of individual tickets.
There will again be eight programs for the season, in three weekend performances each time. The feature for December (2-4) will be the annual Christmas spectacular with guest soloist and various local choirs joining the orchestra under maestro John DeMain.
The remaining programs have been carefully designed as entities, but we might dismantle them to consider categories of components.
There will be, of course, visiting guest soloists, in concerto stints varying from the war-horsey to the very novel. In September (16-18), André Watts will offer Grieg's beloved Piano Concerto. But in October (14-16), Lynn Harrell will dig into a neglected masterpiece, the Cello Concerto of Edouard Lalo. For November (11-13), the celebrated Midori will address the powerful Violin Concerto No. 1 of Shostakovich. January (20-22) will see the return of Augustin Hadelich in Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2.
A team of soloists, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, will be featured in March (9-11) in Joaquin Rodrigo's Four-Guitar Concerto. In the penultimate program (March 30-31, April 1) Philippe Bianconi will be heard in Beethoven's ethereal Piano Concerto No. 4. Finally, in May (11-13), the Symphony Chorus will join the orchestra in a program entirely of music by Gershwin, a composer particularly identified with maestro DeMain: the "Cuban Overture"; both "An American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue", with young Croatian pianist Martina Filjak; topped by a digest of Porgy and Bess with soprano Laquita Mitchell and baritone Eric Greene in key solo stints.
Music by two contemporary composers will provide curtain-raisers for two concerts: John Adams's compelling tribute to the 9/11 catastrophe, "On the Transmigration of Souls" (September); and "Inspiring Beethoven," a commentary on that composer's Seventh Symphony by the young American Kevin Puts. More conventional will be the popular overture to Rossini's Barber of Seville (October).
Most of the concerts will be conducted by DeMain, who will take on the challenges of some familiar works: for instance, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (September). In November, he will balance Haydn's final symphony, No. 104 (the "London Symphony"), with Ravel's swirling fantasy, "La Valse". In January he will venture more into novelty with Debussy's "Ibéria" and Tchaikovsky's rarely heard Symphony No. 2 (the "Little Russian"). And in March/April, he will lead the orchestra into the monumental symphonic poem by Richard Strauss, "Ein Heldenleben" ("A Hero's Life"), featuring the MSO's new concertmaster in its numerous violin solos.
There will also be two guest conductors. Ward Stare will preside in October, to tackle the bold and sonorous Symphony No. 2 of Sibelius. In March, Carl St. Clair will return to surround the guitarists with the Brahms Third Symphony and Rimsky-Korsakov's dazzling "Capriccio Espagnol".
And, yes, soon announcement will be given of the choice still to be made among three currently competing violinists to be enthroned as successor to Tyrone Greive as concertmaster.