Classical WETA's ongoing series featuring performances from the National Symphony Orchestra, hosted by Nicole Lacroix. This special radio series is made possible by WETA's Friends of Classical Music, including Patricia Sagon. The National Symphony Orchestra’s radio programs are generously supported in part by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.
A Cornucopia of Conductors on this month’s NSO Showcase
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 9:00pm
This month’s NSO Showcase is especially rich and varied: we’ll enjoy a musical journey to Spain and Italy as well as two virtuoso concertos, all in a program that features five different conductors! All the music was recorded at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
First stop on our musical travels: Osmo Vänskä leads the NSO in Mendelssohn’s sunny Italian Symphony. Mendelssohn was a gifted artist, and his painter’s eye shines through this masterpiece composed during his Grand Tour.
Slovakian conductor Juraj Valcuha leads the orchestra and Norwegian soloist Vilde Frang in Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1, a work so beloved that Max Bruch grew to resent its popularity. “I cannot listen to this Concerto any more, he would tell aspiring violinists, “go away, and play the other two Concertos!”
Ravel’s euphoniously-titled Pavane pour une infante défunte was also very popular, especially among piano-playing young ladies. Ravel said he wanted to evoke Spain in the Golden Age and “the pavane that might have been danced by such a little princess as painted by Velázquez.” Ludovic Morlot conducts the NSO in the orchestral version of this much-loved masterpiece.
Once Franz Liszt finally settled down in Weimar after years of touring as a virtuoso pianist, he was able to focus on finishing his Piano Concerto No.1. In the process he developed an entirely new concerto form. British conductor Sir Mark Elder leads the NSO and soloist Stephen Hough in this performance from 2014.
We end our musical tour with Christoph Eschenbach conducting Debussy’s Ibéria. Despite having spent just one day in Spain (popping over the border to see a bullfight), Debussy’s imagination brings a village festival to life in all its vibrant color.
Indeed with its excursions to Spain and Italy, and two Romantic solo concertos (not to mention five conductors (!), March’s NSO Showcase is a feast for the senses. Join us Wednesday evening, March 2 at 9 o’clock.
Luis Araya immigrated to Arlington, Virginia from Bolivia in 1966, when very few Latinos lived in the county. He reflects on the changes he has seen over the years and the influence of Latinos in Arlington today.