CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 1, 2002
University of Iowa Symphony will play program of popular classics Feb.
University of Iowa Symphony will play a program of popular orchestral classics
with conductor William LaRue Jones at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 in Hancher
Auditorium on the UI campus. The concert will be free and open to the public.
The program will feature three pieces that are popular staples of the repertoire
of most major orchestras: Tchaikovsky's "Slavonic March" (also known
by its French title, "Marche Slave"), op. 31; Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's
"Capriccio espagnol" (Spanish caprice); and Ottorino Respighi's
orchestral showpiece, "Pines of Rome."
Not only are all three works extremely popular with audiences, they are all
considered virtuoso orchestral scores that give conductors and players a chance
to show their skills.
Before the Feb. 13 performance at the UI, Jones and the University Symphony
will perform the same program on tour in Kansas on Feb. 11 and 12.
The "Slavonic March" was written in 1876, in response to a request
for music to be performed at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the
Serbo-Turkish War -- soon to become the Russo-Turkish War. Tchaikovsky wrote
a rousing march for the occasion, using several Serbian and South Slavonic
themes along with the new Russian national anthem that had been written by
Alexis Feodorovich Lvov -- a theme he used again, and more famously, in the
The Serbian folk-tune that provides the main subject is rather lugubrious,
but Tchaikovsky soon works it up into a blood-stirring march. The work ends
in a blaze of patriotic fervor with the Russian anthem ingeniously combined
with fragments of the other themes.
"Capriccio espagnol" ranks with "Scheherazade" as Rimsky-Korsakov's
most popular works, and one of the most popular orchestral pieces ever written.
It was composed in 1887 and was first intended for solo violin and orchestra,
but the Spanish dance themes the composer used suggested to him a more brilliant
and varied orchestral treatment.
The composer wrote, "The 'Capriccio' is a brilliant composition for
the orchestra. The change of timbres, the felicitous choice of melodic designs
and figuration patterns, exactly suiting each kind of instrument, brief virtuoso
cadenzas for solo instruments, the rhythm of the percussion instruments, and
so on, constitute here the very essence of the composition and not merely
its garb of orchestration.
"The Spanish themes, of dance character, furnished me with rich material
for putting in use multiform orchestral effects. All in all, the "Capriccio'
is undoubtedly a purely external piece, but vividly brilliant for all that."
The Capriccio is in five linked sections each having a Spanish character:
an "Alborado," a morning serenade that seems determined to waken
everybody as soon as it starts on its tempestuous course; a set of variations
on a languid "Seguidilla," beginning with a theme on the horns over
a rocking accompaniment; a reprise of the "Alborado" in a new key;
"Scene and Gypsy Song," a series of five cadenzas interspersed with
a gypsy theme in the orchestra; and an exhilarating finale, introduced by
the trombones, in the style of an "Asturian Fandango."
"The Pines of Rome" was written in 1924 by the Italian composer
Ottorino Respighi, who is known today mostly for his virtuoso orchestral tone
poems. His music is characteristically exciting, with brilliant orchestral
effects, strong emotional contrasts and powerful climaxes.
"The Pines of Rome," like its companion piece "The Fountains
of Rome," is in four sections, each a musical impression of a specific
time of day and location in Rome: "The Pines of the Villa Borghese,"
"The Pines near a Catacomb," "The Pines of the Janiculum"
and "The Pines of the Appian Way." In both scores, musical depiction
of the location and its mood is combined with a nostalgic evocation of Rome's
history. Thus, "The Pines of the Appian Way," the culminating section
of the score, is a relentless march, describing the passing of a Roman legion
along the road way.
A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997
as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies.
Prior to joining the UI faculty, Jones was the founding music director/administrator
of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Jones is a highly honored musician, having received the Twin Cities Mayors'
Public Art Award, the American String Teachers Association Exceptional Leadership
and Merit Award and the David W. Preuss Leadership Award. He has also been
selected Musician of the Year by Sigma Alpha Iota , a music honorary society.
Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra, the
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Sinfonie Orchester AML-Luzern (Switzerland)
and other orchestras around the world. He has conducted all-state and festival
orchestras in 46 states and five Canadian provinces. He has been conductor-in-residence
at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Miami (Fla.).
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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