On November 10 at 8:00 PM in the Terrace Theater of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, the Long Beach Symphony will present a dramatic, weighty concert of music by Brahms and Dvořák, as well as a rare work by female composer Lillian Elkington. To facilitate attendance by those who have served our country, the Symphony is offering free tickets to veterans and their immediate family members through Vet Tix (www.vettix.com).
“This concert is in stark contrast to our Opening Night,” says Long Beach Symphony Music Director Eckart Preu. “In this one, we’re going to dig a lot deeper.”
This reflective and emotional program of works from the Romantic period features Concertmaster Roger Wilkie playing Brahms’ Violin Concerto, the only concerto Brahms wrote for the instrument. Highly virtuosic, it stands among the four great German violin concerti. “As a teenager, this was one of the pieces I dreamed of performing one day,” said Wilkie in a phone interview. “It has incredible drama, places where it soars melodically. It explores all the emotions and is rhythmically vibrant.”
Maestro Eckart Preu noted that, “Roger has a certain elegance in his tone that lends itself well to the Brahms – a warm tone that reminds me of the European style of sound production. As Concertmaster, he is the translator of my ideas. I feel that he understands what I want and is able to communicate that to the orchestra.”
A Southern California native, violinist Roger Wilkie has been the beloved concertmaster of the Long Beach Symphony for over 27 years. A highly sought-after performer, Mr. Wilkie joined the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at age 21. He has also served as Guest Concertmaster with the LA Opera, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Real Filharmonia De Galicia, Spain under Music Director, Helmut Rilling. Mr. Wilkie’s career also extends to the Hollywood Studios, where he has worked for decades with John Williams and participated in the soundtracks of over 1000 films and television recordings.
The concert will open with a short work by a little-known British composer, Lillian Elkington, who was inspired by the return of the ship carrying the coffin of the Unknown Soldier. Her brilliant score, Out of the Mist (1921), was discovered in a second-hand bookstore after her death and is one of her only known works.
The work begins mysteriously as the ship appears out of the mists in the English Channel, and the coffin is then taken by carriage to Westminster Abbey, carrying with it the memory of millions of others who would never return. In tribute to their sacrifices, the piece ends with brightness and hope. Unfortunately, Elkington gave up composing after she married, a situation not unusual at that time. As her only known work, it also reminds us of the work she – and other women – might have done had they lived in a different era, and of those who, like the soldiers of 1914–1918, were never able to fulfil their potential.
Following intermission, audiences will hear Dvořák’s Symphony #7, op. 70 in D minor, which was allegedly inspired by his feelings of patriotism upon observing troops arriving in Prague for a special concert to support the early struggle for a Czech homeland. It is one of his most nationalistic works, with heavy use of Slavonic melodies.
“This symphony is much more dramatic than his others,” according Maestro Preu. “There’s a lot of darkness, drama, fighting. It fits well on a program with the Brahms Violin Concerto, because like that work, it reflects a lot of personal struggle.”
Tickets to the concert start at $28 with student tickets available for $10. Veterans and current military may reserve their tickets in advance through Vet Tix (www.vettix.com). For more information or to purchase tickets and subscriptions visit www.LongBeachSymphony.org or call 562-436-3203 ext. 1. Tickets are also available on Ticketmaster.
The Symphony’s full classical season, which runs through June 2019, will also present masterworks of epic proportion, such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, and his 9th Symphony that ends with vocal soloists and chorus promoting universal brotherhood in the Ode to Joy libretto by Schiller. Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Jupiter, Haydn’s Symphony No. 85, La Reine, Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and works by Sibelius are also part of the season’s foundation.
However, numerous lesser known and more recent composers will add color and nuance to the repertoire. Daniel Bjarnason from Iceland is shaping the future of the classical genre, giving us food for thought in his 2010 composition Bow to String, which will be performed in the Spring.
Tickets to the Symphony’s Classical concerts start at $28 and POPS! concerts start at $29 (student tickets are $10). Season subscriptions start at $90 for the POPS! Series and $126 for Classical Series. Subscriber benefits include up to 30% off of single ticket prices, priority seating, 20% off dining discount card, free ticket exchanges and more. For more information, or to purchase tickets and subscriptions, please visit www.LongBeachSymphony.org or call (562) 436-3203.
This article was released by the Long Beach Symphony.