Old World Meets New World During Nashville Symphony Classical Series Concerts on October 25-27
Program featuring Dvořák, Brahms, Ives and live John Adams recording will showcase the full breadth of the orchestra
Nashville, Tenn. (October 18, 2019) — The Nashville Symphony’s 2019/20 Classical Series resumes on October 25-27 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center with Brahms’ Violin Concerto, as Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero leads the orchestra on four works that span both centuries and continents, including the Symphony’s first live recording of the season, John Adams’ My Father Knew Charles Ives.
The concerts open with the spirited Czech dance sounds of Antonin Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance No. 1, Op. 46, before violinist Karen Gomyo – praised by the Chicago Tribune as “a first-rate artist of real musical command, vitality, brilliance and intensity” – joins the orchestra as the featured soloist on Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto.
Following intermission, the program shifts to a showcase of two American composers who share several notable artistic and autobiographical parallels: Adams’ My Father Knew Charlies Ives, followed by Ives’ own Three Places in New England.
Great seats are available starting at $20 (while supplies last, additional fees apply), and the Symphony’s Soundcheck program offers $10 tickets to students in K-12, college and grad school.
About the Program
Antonin Dvořák – Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C major, Op. 46 (1878)
- Brahms was an early champion of Dvořák’s work, and the two would go on to become longtime friends. Dvořák used Brahms’ incorporation of folk music as the basis for his Slavonic Dances, but elevated this approach further by creating his own folk-inspired melodies and using more extensive forms. The result earned him international acclaim.
- At the heart of this piece is the fiery Bohemian dance style known as the furiant, which derives from the Czech word for “a proud, swaggering, conceited person.” Furiants alternate between triple and duple time with rapidly shifting accents, and also appear in Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony, as well as works by fellow Czech conductor Bedřich Smetana.
Johannes Brahms – Violin Concerto in D major (1878)
- Brahms wrote this concerto for Joseph Joachim, the Hungarian virtuoso widely regarded as one of the 19th century’s most significant violinists. The composer first encountered Joachim performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto when both were teenagers, and the violinist’s perspective helped shape this work, which is considered one of the most beloved pieces in the repertoire.
- While the concerto draws on several features of Beethoven’s legendary Violin Concerto, Brahms put his own stamp on the genre, further synthesizing the concerto format by incorporating the symphonic form’s integrated textures, grand architecture and continuous development of ideas.
John Adams – My Father Knew Charlies Ives (2003)
- Adams calls this piece “a musical autobiography, an homage and encomium to a composer whose influence on me has been huge,” in reference to Ives, whose fiercely independent spirit has been compared to Adams’ own musical worldview. Though Adams’ father did not actually know Ives, the composer recognized similarities between the two men’s lives, and in his notes on the piece, he writes that he could envision them becoming friends.
- The work both alludes to and draws from Ives’ Three Places in New England, also a three-movement composition with autobiographical themes. Adams uses each movement here to depict a meaningful place from his past — “Concord” refers to his early life in New Hampshire, “The Lake” is a reference to the lakeside dance hall where is parents first met, and “The Mountain” conflates Adams’ childhood memories of Mount Kearsage in New Hampshire with California’s Mount Shasta, which Adams observed during a hike with his son.
Charles Ives – Three Places in New England (1903-1929)
- Though his music was largely ignored during the early part of his career, Charles Ives was one of the first American composers to gain international notoriety and was a pioneer of experimental music. His use of techniques like polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters and aletory elements was a precursor to many musical innovations that became standard practice in the 20th century, solidifying his reputation as an American original.
- One of his most performed compositions, this piece represents a gathering of themes that fascinated Ives – including autobiographical memories, U.S. history and American cultural identity – and exhibits his adventurous outlook through the creation of collage-like soundscapes using traditional sources such as hymns and marches, experimental harmonies and complex, layered textures with multiple melodies happening simultaneously.
Tickets for Brahms Violin Concerto may be purchased:
- Online at NashvilleSymphony.org/Brahms
- Via phone at 615.687.6400
- At the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office, One Symphony Place in downtown Nashville
Full program notes, artist bios, a Spotify playlist and audio of Giancarlo Guerrero discussing the program can be found at nashvillesymphony.org/brahms.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording and commissioning works by America’s leading composers. The Nashville Symphony has released more than 30 recordings on Naxos, which have received 24 GRAMMY® nominations and 13 GRAMMY® Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. The orchestra has also released recordings on Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and New West Records, among other labels. With more than 140 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children’s concerts, while its extensive education and community engagement programs reached 45,000 children and adults during the 2018/19 season.