The concert was held at The Orange County Performing Arts Center: Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall- Orange County’s Pacific Symphony. The concert featured three composers. There was Barber, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff. It was a very interesting concert with excellent musicians, and an amazing concert pianist and a great conductor.
The conductor was Michael Stern. Stern has conducted in orchestras all over the world. He has an amazing track record. The concert pianist featured was Dejan Lazic. Dejan has been a recitalist and soloist throughout Europe, North, and South America. He has been performing professionally since 2007 and also has an amazing track record. Dejan Lazic grew up in Salzburg but was originally from Kroatia. He now resides in Munich, Germany. During a preview concert talk he said, “A great piano inspires you.” (Dejan Lazic) He played on a Hamburg Steinway.
Barber’s composition featured Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, Op. 23a circa 1946. Op.23a features 3 flutes (third doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, English horn, small clarinet in E-flat, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, piano, and strings. The performance time was 14 minutes. (Laki P-2).
This was a very bizarre and mysterious piece. Barber’s piece is mellow and enchanting. This music is like a symphonic poem and has a film like style. It involves strings, drums with great booming effect. The orchestra starts off pianissimo with rising crescendos rising to a triple forte full orchestra. This piece involves repetitive melodies and horns. The music builds with great tension. There is a tremendous amount of percussion and a medley of sounds. It truly is a mad dance and then finally diminuendo down to pianissimo. The mood is clashing and turbulent.
Beethoven’s composition featured Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 58. The three movements where Allegro moderato, Andante con moto, Rondo: Vivace.. Op. 58 features piano solo, flute, oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, strings (first movement); strings alone (second movement); the ensemble of the first movements, plus 2 trumpets and timpani (third movement). Performance time was 35 minutes. (Laki P-2).
Beethoven’s three movements are inspired by the mythology of Orpheus. There is a great deal of operatic themes presented here. The composition starts with an orchestral exposition that leads into the piano. All three movements involved interplay between the talents of Dejan Lazic and the orchestra presided over by Michael Stern.
Beethoven’s piece shows a tremendous amount of dynamic play. There is gliding up and down the piano. The mood of the piano is playful and floating as it takes the lead as the solo instrument. Strings follow the piano. Then pianissimo into a crescendo with rising tension into forte. Movement one involves lots crescendos, diminuendos, and constant movement. The finale is with triple forte with full orchestra.
The second movement is more introspective and quieter. It starts at pianissimo. The string section plays forte, while the piano is pianissimo. Then the violins go diminuendo and the piano goes into piano. The violins crescendo back and the piano fades out. Rondo vivacity is very lively dance and allegro piano. It is very fast and playful and rises to full orchestra.
Rachmaninoff’s composition featured Symphonic Dances, Op. 45. The three movements featured Non allegro ‘”Lento- Tempo I, Andante con moto (Tempo di valse) and Lento assai- Allegro vivace. Op. 45 features 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, piano, strings. Performance time is 33 minutes. (Laki P-3).
Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances cover the three stages of life. This piece was Rachmaninoff’s last work in the summer of 1940. The first movement involved flutes. This piece has a melodic beauty of polyphonic sounds and violins then mounting tension. This piece has a piano/celeste. This added an interesting touch to this music. It is a very thematic piece.
The 2nd movement starts with horns. It is very dramatic with melancholic violins. It is light has a symphonic dance quality and it sounds like movie music. This music is whimsical and mysterious. It goes from piano to triple forte with the strings using crescendos.
The third movement has bells chiming also very dramatic. The tension is lightened by flutes and woodwinds. This final piece is busy with tension and rhythm. The finale has triple forte with full orchestra. The concert ends with this final movement with extreme power and force in the finale. The final percussion of drums is prominent and the triple forte is a very loud ending.
Barber, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff make for an unusual but interesting combination. The pieces ranged from mysterious, powerful, and modern melodies. They were all giants of their time and their music never ceases to astonish and inspire the audiences who are privileged enough to hear their masterpieces.
Laki, Peter. “Program Notes.” Orange County Performing Arts Center. May. 2010: P-2 & P-3