URBANA — Sinfonia da Camera, the chamber orchestra in-residence at the University of Illinois, holds its first concert of the year Saturday night at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.
The program will feature two popular 19th century works, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, known as the “pastoral” symphony, and the Dvorak cello concerto, featuring Ko Iwasaki as soloist.
Illinois Newsroom’s Brian Moline spoke with Sinfonia’s music director and conductor, Ian Hobson about Saturday night’s concert.
Listen to this story here.
On why the Dvorak cello concerto is widely considered the best concerto ever written for the instrument.
“Brahms was particularly taken with this piece, and it might have been one of the things that compelled him to compose his own double concerto for violin and cello late in his life. The writing is so extraordinary, and the harmonic language is so powerful. That’s really what’s going on here. The slow movement is a kind of lament, and the cello writing is often very high, which is good for balance, but the orchestration is quite transparent, and that’s, I think, one of the main reasons it’s held its place so long. As you know, so many people write very thick orchestrations, and the cellos or guitars or even pianos have to force their way through, but that’s not the case with this piece.
On the “pastoral” symphony being an “expression of feeling” rather than a “depiction”
“From the onset of the piece, you feel this feeling, there’s the drones, you know, the fifth, which is always associated with the countryside. Beethoven’s pastoral sonata is full of those fifths. It’s bucolic. You feel like you’re in the countryside. You might see a cow or a sheep somewhere. It’s just feelings. Now, there are some depictions, the woodpecker and the cuckoo, and those are real, and you can see them a mile away, but the rest of the time it’s mainly atmosphere”
Saturday night’s concert starts at 7:30pm in the Foellinger Great Hall at Krannert.