On Friday, Jan. 20, Knox welcomes Russia’s Tschaikowski St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, which will perform a program that has been collectively described as a “choreographed symphony” in which each movement is literally a ballet.
The program opens with the 16-minute “Daphnis et Chloé Suite.” Based on a second-century Greek folktale, it tells the story of Daphnis, a lonely shepherd, who falls in love with Chloe on the island of Lesbos. Chloe is abducted by pirates, rescued by the god Pan and returned to Daphnis amid great joy and celebration.
The piece ends with the “Bacchanale,” described in the orchestra’s literature as, “a full spectrum of orchestral color (that) creates a feeling of uncontrolled forward movement, from whirling strings and woodwinds to insistent, crashing percussion. The exhilarating climax is as close as one can get in music to a Dionysian revel — with the worshipers dancing wildly until they fell to the ground, utterly spent.”
Following this composition, the orchestra will perform Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major, Op. 10, which is described as “a brief, lively work written in three movements.” Played without pauses, the 16-minute piece begins with a “forceful, sweeping melody, almost brashly self-confident,” that returns two more times throughout the concerto. “This is a young man’s music, full … of audacity and childlike delight in the composer’s ability, yet shows remarkably mature and tender moments, particularly in the central section.”
The performance will conclude with the 44-minute “Scheherazade.” Based on an Arabian legend, “Scheherazade” tells of Sultan Schariar, who, convinced all women were false and faithless, vowed to put to death each of his wives after the first nuptial night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by entertaining her lord with fascinating tales, told for a thousand and one nights. The Sultan, consumed with curiosity, each day postponed the execution of his wife, and finally renounced his bloody vow entirely.
Taken as a whole, the performance of the Tschaikowski St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra will be a sweeping experience in true escapism, even for those who are not familiar with symphonic concerts, explains Patricia Smith, executive director of the Knox Concert Series.
“It’s absolutely breathtaking,” Smith said. “And if nothing else, it’s a great way to relax. After a long, hard day, just sit back and be transported by this beautiful music.”
Founded after World War II, The Tschaikowski St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra has worked in various genres and is renowned throughout Russia. As evidenced by its program on Jan. 20, the orchestra’s repertoire is diverse, ranging from the Baroque compositions by Vivaldi, Bach and Handel to contemporary music of the 20th century with compositions by Schnitke, Banshikov, Desyatnikov and Kancheli.
For the past 10 years, the orchestra has become an ensemble, including the regular commissioning and performances of new compositions, many of which were written especially for the orchestra each season.
This will be the orchestra’s first time performing at Knox.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tschaikowski St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra
When: Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Anniston Center for Performing Arts (Anniston High School), 1301 Woodstock Ave., Anniston
How much: $40 general admission, $70 reserved seating. Group rates are available.
Contact: 256-237-3464 or visit www.knoxconcertseries.org