Since 1915, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra has mesmerized audiences with evocative, infatuating performances that dazzle and transcend emotional experiences not often felt in today’s modern world. The tradition continues with the QCSO’s Masterworks II: Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto.
Saluting 104 Seasons with Haydn
In perfect symmetry, next month’s concert begins with Joseph Haydn’s “London” Symphony No. 104. Last performed by the QCSO in 1964, the Austrian composer’s love for London is felt through each of the piece’s four movements.
The first movement begins triumphantly, blasting the listener away with overwhelming unisons that may have shocked listeners in the Esterházy court, but were very well suited for London audiences of the time.
The second movement begins softer than the first, focusing instead on warm, expressive harmonic gestures that eventually shift into somewhat flirtatious flute solo. Like the first movement, the third starts off strong but eventually settles into banter between the oboe and violin.
Finally, the energetic and festive fourth movement feels thunderous as it rumbles towards its end, wavering between soft, quiet moments that eventually rupture into something louder and more alarming.
“This work was Haydn’s 104th symphony and was selected not only for its exquisite musicality but to celebrate what is our 104th season,” said QCSO Executive Director Brian Baxter. “The piece is joyful, lively, rhythmically vibrant, accessible, and a great example of the classical symphony.”
QCSO Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith agrees, adding, “The piece is still very colorful and full of energy, but it’s a very different aesthetic. It’s a great contrast to everything we’ve had this season and throughout the rest of the performance.”
Flowing into Britten’s Four Sea Interludes
Following Haydn is Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from his opera, Peter Grimes. Britten takes the listener on a voyage through four unique orchestral experiences: Dawn, Sunday Morning, Moonlight, and Storm.
The emotions range in this piece. From a brief sense of hope to complete despair, the audience can feel every bit of the tragedy experienced by the opera’s central character, Peter Grimes, after being accused by his town of murdering his own apprentice.
“Britten’s opera, Peter Grimes, was critically and popularly successful at the time of its premiere in the 1940s and is considered a part of the standard repertoire today,” Baxter said. “The Four Sea Interludes pulled from the opera are dramatic program pieces that drive through a wide range of emotions from the beauty of the Dawn to the power and terror of the Storm.”
A Powerful Climax in Rachmaninoff
If the QCSO’s performance hadn’t yet stunned the audience, it will do so in Rachmaninoff’sPiano Concerto No. 3. Pianist Wei Luo tackles the mountainous piece and leads the entire orchestra forward in a climactic, awe-inspiring performance.
“Wei Luo’s technical accomplishment and musicality will blow our audiences away,” Baxter said. “Rach 3 is a really heavy piano concerto in the repertoire and always a crowd pleaser because of its virtuosity.”
Russel Smith echoes the sentiment. “Wei Luo is an amazing pianist that will leave listeners in awe. Our audience loves virtuoso soloists, and Wei Luo meets the mark in every way.”
November 4, 2018 | 2:00 p.m.
3703 7th Avenue | Rock Island, IL
Purchase Tickets | $17-$64 Adults | $10-$33 Students
Mark Russell Smith, conductor
Wei Luo, piano
Dive Deeper into the QCSO’s 104th Season
Besides purchasing tickets to the main performance, QCSO also offers the unique opportunity to interact with the orchestra both before and after. Join us for Inside the Music, Concert Conversations, and a special Opening Night Afterglow.
Join QCSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith in an exploration of the Masterworks programs on the Thursday evening preceding each Masterworks concert. Doors open at 4:45 p.m. Free Admission. Cash Bar. Hosted at the Hotel Blackhawk.
One hour prior to each Masterworks performance, concertgoers are invited to attend informal pre-concert conversations to hear about the works being presented. Hosted by Kai Swanson. Sponsored by Chris Connolly, Wells Fargo Advisors.
Mingle with Maestro Mark Russell Smith, guest artists, and members of the QCSO immediately following the Saturday Masterworks performances. Free Admission. Cash Bar. Hosted at the Hotel Blackhawk