Symphony soars with strings

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March 1st, 2012

Omaha, NE – The Symphony Strings are in the spotlight in Omaha this weekend.

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Friday and Saturday, the Omaha Symphony performs Soaring Strings, a program full of color, melody, and of course, strings!

Jennifer Koh will perform as the soloist for Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto. (Photo courtesy Omaha Symphony)

It opens with a selection by Darryl Kubian, a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra who writes music for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. In this concert, the audience will hear Occam’s Razor, a work that displays Kubian’s love for science and technology. It’s named after the philosophy stating that the least complex answer is usually the best. Occam’s Razor is an accessible work that the composer describes as “succinct and direct as possible.”

The Omaha Symphony will then perform the Preludio Sinfonico, a work that Puccini wrote for a graduation exam. While Puccini focused mainly on opera later in life, this early instrumental work hints at his later genius for melody and orchestral color. It also makes a great introduction to the rest of the program.

In the second half of the program, the Symphony will play Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Jennifer Koh as the soloist. Brahms was a master of song and lyrical melodies, but Koh points out that Brahms’ Violin Concerto lacks neither energy nor drama.

“There’s always this incredibly complex rhythmic pattern underneath it,” Koh said, “that kind of offsets the harmonic melody.”

Thomas Wilkins will conduct Soaring Strings at the Omaha Symphony March 2 and 3. (Photo courtesy Omaha Symphony)

“So there’s always kind of this undulation underneath what might seem at first just to be simply lyrical, there’s always more layers to it.”

In a concert called Soaring Strings, a work like Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings is not entirely unexpected. He began work on it immediately after writing his immensely popular 1812 Overture. He wanted to create something a little softer and more elegant. He took inspiration from his hero, Mozart, creating a charming and melodic orchestral work that remains popular to this day. Listeners will probably be most familiar with the Waltz section, which was used in the MGM film Anchors Aweigh.

The Omaha Symphony plays Soaring Strings with violinist Jennifer Koh on Friday and Saturday, March 2nd and 3rd in Omaha’s Holland Performing Arts Center. Both concerts begin at 8pm with a pre-concert talk by yours truly.

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