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Symphony contrasts Russian composers in November concert

Music Director Bruce Kiesling calls the Sequoia Symphony’s Nov. 11 concert one of the most interesting programs the orchestra has ever presented. It features Russian composers Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Prokofiev and Borodin, contrasting those who followed the state line and those who rebelled.
Entitled “Behind the Czar: Protest and Praise,” the concert includes “Ruslan and Ludmilla” by Mikhail Glinka, the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country. Often regarded as the fountainhead of Russian classical music, Glinka was an important influence on future Russian composers.
The rollicking overture to “Ruslan and Ludmilla” is one of the best known orchestral showpieces in the West and known for being a nightmare for bassists.
Alexander Borodin’s best-known work is the opera “Prince Igor,” although he died before finishing the work, which was completed by other composers. Borodin was a member of “The Five,” composers who were dedicated to Russian art music, and the nationalistic “Prince Igor” tells the story of the Russian prince fighting invading Polovtsian tribes.
The orchestra will perform the exhilarating Polovtsian Dances from the opera. Many of the themes were incorporated into the 1953 Broadway musical, “Kismet,” including “Stranger in Paradise.”
Pyotr Tchaikovsky was a contemporary of Bordin who steered an unlikely path between the Russian nationalist tendencies so prominent in the work of his rivals, The Five, and the cosmopolitan stance encouraged by his conservatory training. He was both a Russian nationalist and a Westernizer of polished technical skill.
Guest violinist Adam Millstein will perform two Tchaikovsky pieces with the orchestra: “Serenade melencolique” and “Valse-scherzo.”
Finally, there is the rebel of the group, Sergey Prokofiev, first beloved by Stalin and then denounced as evil and bourgeois. Prokofiev was able to perform a clever balancing act, pushing the authorities to the limits and then mollifying them with a mellow piece of populism.
His “Lieutenant Kiji” about a fictional character portrayed as real to the tsar is a satire on bureaucracy, showing the stupidity of royalty and particularly the Russian terror of Stalin. Luckily, Stalin didn’t get the parody. The story is often used in fictional works making fun of bureaucracies, most famously in a M*A*S*H episode “Tuttle,” featuring a fictional captain.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Visalia Fox Theater, but the audience is encouraged to come to Kiesling’s preview at 6:45 p.m. to learn more about the composers and music.
Tickets are available at the symphony office, 208 W. Main, Visalia (downstairs in Montgomery Square), 559 732-8600 or www.sequoiasymphonyorchestra.com.

Check the links below to take you to their event calendars:

1. Fulton 55, Fresno
2. Sound N Vision
3. 210 Cafe, Visalia
4. Fresno Night Out
5. Cellar Door, Visalia
8. Visalia Fox Theatre
9. Strummers
10. Frank’s Place & Warnors Theatre
11. Full Circle Brewing Co., Fresno
12. The Wakehouse Woodfire Grill and Barrel in Reedley
13. Gazebo Gardens Fresno
14. Tower Theatre Fresno
15. Fresno Philharmonic
16. Tulare County Symphony
17. Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen – Fresno
18. Englemann Cellars – Fresno
19. Arte Americas – Fresno
20. Veni Vidi Vici – Fresno
21. Hanford Fox Theatre
22. Wakehouse Woodfire Grill and Barrel in Reedley
23. Lucy’s Lounge in the Tower


Fresno Folklore Society Concerts:

Steve Ono Concert mgr 559-307-3610

fresnofolklore@yahoo.com

FRESNO FOLKLORE SOCIETY, P.O. BOX 4617, FRESNO CA 93744

Membership Info: Patty Bennett patriciajb@gmail.com (559) 225-9511 Or
Sign up online at www.fresnofolklore.org
Snail Mail send check and with name, address, phone(s), email and
folklore related interests to:
FRESNO FOLKLORE SOCIETY, P.O. BOX 4617, FRESNO CA 93744
(c) 2011 Fresno Folklore Society, a 501(c)3 Non profit Community Organizationon

For more information contact Steve Ono at 559-307-3610
Email: fresnofolklore@yahoo.com

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