IF CVNC.org CALENDAR and REVIEWS are important to you:
If you use the CVNC Calendar to find a performance to attend
If you read a review of your favorite artist
If you quote from a CVNC review in a program or grant application or press release
Now is the time to SUPPORT CVNC.org
The North Carolina Symphony's 2017/18 Classical Series season concludes May 18 and 19
This preview has been provided by the North Carolina Symphony.
The centerpiece work of the North Carolina Symphony's final concert of the 2017/18 Classical Series season, Strauss' Ein Heldenleben, translates as "A Hero's Life" – and it truly lives up to its name. Ein Heldenleben is a heroic undertaking in the orchestral world; it is rarely programmed not only because of its monumental technical challenges but also because of the sheer number of musicians required.
The North Carolina Symphony will perform the work for the first time in 20 years on May 18 and 19 at Raleigh's Meymandi Concert Hall. This will represent Music Director Grant Llewellyn's first experience conducting Ein Heldenleben, and it is a moment he has been looking forward to all season long, as have the Symphony's musicians.
"When we first announced that we would perform Ein Heldenleben this season, there was wide-eyed excitement and a tangible feeling of resolve among the musicians: 'Okay, we're ready – let's do this,'" says Llewellyn. "They're hungry for this challenge and eager to show what they can do."
In Ein Heldeleben, Strauss describes aspects of the life of a "hero," who – it is speculated – may in fact be Strauss himself. Several sections of the tone poem are clearly autobiographical, with Strauss satirizing his critics ("The Critics"), portraying his strong-willed wife ("The Courtship"), and recalling previous achievements by quoting themes from his earlier major works ("The Hero's Works for Peace").
The "hero" is represented by a solo violin with one of the most demanding concertmaster solos in the repertoire – to be played by NCS Concertmaster Brian Reagin. But every musician has the chance to shine in this showpiece, with fantastically virtuosic parts written for each instrument.
"To answer the proverbial question: If I were stranded on a desert island, Ein Heldenleben and my violin are all I would need to survive!" says NCS violinist Jeanine Wynton. "It is simply THE greatest epic tone poem yet written for orchestra, inspiring individual heroism while maximizing the capacity of every instrument in the orchestra."
NCS is well equipped to take on this challenge; the artistic excellence of the orchestra is recognized as being at an all-time high, with Geoffrey Simon of CNVC stating in September that the Symphony has "rarely, if ever, sounded better," and Roy Dicks of CNVC noting in March, "If ever there were any doubt about the North Carolina Symphony's position as a first-rank orchestra, it was completely erased at Friday's performance…" Strauss' Ein Heldenleben will be a perfect vehicle through which to showcase the brilliant talent of the Symphony's musicians.
The program will open with Schoenberg's Verklärt Nacht, composed during his Romantic era before he turned to an atonal musical language. This touching work for string orchestra is based on a poem by Richard Dehmel in which a couple, out for a walk at night, has an emotional conversation in which the woman reveals that she is pregnant with another man's child. The man responds with exceptional warmth and understanding, and envisions a future where the two can raise the child together – a remarkable display of heroism indeed.
North Carolina Symphony
A Hero's Life
Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19 — 8 pm
Meymandi Concert Hall
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (Raleigh)
North Carolina Symphony
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
TICKETS start at $18
Online: ncsymphony.org (TicketMaster fees apply)
By phone: 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724 ($8 processing fee applies)
About the North Carolina Symphony
Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony (NCS) is a vital and honored component of North Carolina's cultural life. Its 180+ concerts and 120+ community engagement events annually are greeted with enthusiasm by adults and schoolchildren in more than 90 North Carolina counties – in communities large and small, and in concert halls, auditoriums, gymnasiums, restaurants, clubs, and outdoor settings. The Symphony's full-time professional musicians perform under the artistic leadership of Music Director Grant Llewellyn.
NCS's state headquarters venue is the spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The Symphony's service across the state includes series in Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines, and Wilmington, as well as the Summerfest series at its summer home, the outdoor Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. NCS brings some of the world's greatest talents to North Carolina and embraces home-state artists from classical musicians to bluegrass bands, creating live music experiences distinctive to North Carolina.
Committed to engaging students of all ages across North Carolina, NCS leads the most extensive education program of any symphony orchestra – serving nearly 70,000 students each year. In alignment with the curriculum set by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Symphony provides training and resources for teachers, sends small ensembles into classrooms, and presents full-orchestra Education Concerts that bring the fundamentals of music to life. Music Discovery for preschoolers combines music with storytelling, and at the middle and high school levels, students have opportunities to work directly with NCS artists and perform for NCS audiences.
NCS is dedicated to giving voice to new art, and has presented 48 U.S. or world premieres in its history. In 2017, NCS appeared at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., as one of four orchestras chosen for the inaugural year of SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras – an honor that recognized the Symphony's creative programming and innovative community partnerships.
The first state-supported symphony in the country, NCS performs under the auspices of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. To learn more, visit ncsymphony.org.