Tchaikovsky & Friends - Tucson Local Media: El Sol

Tchaikovsky & Friends

Guest violinist to play Bruch's 'Scottish Fantasy'

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Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 12:00 am

Special to The Explorer

Violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky performs Max Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra" with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m.

Both performances are at the Tucson Music Hall.

George Hanson, TSO music director and conductor, leads the Classic Series program "Tchaikovsky & Friends," which will also feature two of the most often requested works from the composer's repertoire, "Romeo and Juliet overture-fantasy" and "Capriccio italien."

Opening the program will be Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon's "blue cathedral," one of the most frequently performed new compositions of the past 10 years.

Young British violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky made his debut at the age of eight as a soloist with the chamber orchestra in Montpellier, France. That same year he was invited to become a pupil at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

The Scottish Fantasy is one of several signature pieces by Bruch still widely heard today, along with his first violin concerto. In paying homage to Scottish tradition, Bruch incorporated many ethnic folk tunes into his music, including several in the Scottish Fantasy.

Tchaikovsky named his work inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet an "overture-fantasy." It is what today would be called a symphonic poem in the form of a sonata. The music closely follows the Shakespearean plot and features a number of restatements of the "love theme" throughout, "but usually with a sense of foreboding," a release said.

"Capriccio italien" could be described as a "fantasy" of Tchaikovsky's impressions of Italy. It was inspired by some of the folk music he heard when he was treated to a three-month Roman holiday in the winter of 1879-'80.

Jennifer Higdon won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2010 for the violin concerto she composed for Hilary Hahn. When the Curtis Institute of Music commissioned Ms. Higdon to write a work to commemorate its 75th anniversary in 1999, the result was blue cathedral, inspired by the loss of the composer's younger brother.

"Blue … like the sky, where all possibilities soar. Cathedrals: a place of thought, growth, spiritual expression … serving as a symbolic doorway in to and out of this world," Higdon writes. "Blue represents all potential and the progression of journeys. Cathedrals represent a place of beginnings, endings, solitude, fellowship, contemplation, knowledge and growth."

The TSO November Classic Series program, Tchaikovsky & Friends, is sponsored by John E. Wahl and Mary Lou Forier. The media partner is Classical KUAT-FM, Arizona Public Media.

Tchaikovsky & Friends

Friday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m.

The Tucson Music Hall.

Tickets, starting at $20, are available online at">, at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office located at 2175 N. Sixth Avenue, or by phone at 882-8585. TSO Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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