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  • Writer's pictureJackson Harmeyer

64. Rapides Symphony Orchestra to Present an Afternoon of Italian Classics, January 31

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)

This Sunday, January 31 the Rapides Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Giancarlo De Lorenzo present the “RSO Chamber Players.” At this special concert, Maestro De Lorenzo will share with central Louisiana the music of his homeland—Italy—making this an afternoon of Italian classics with music by such greats as Antonio Vivaldi and Ottorino Respighi.

Known foremost for his Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi wrote a wealth of concerti—more than 300 amazingly enough! These include the guitar concerto which John De Chiaro performed alongside the RSO at last season’s holiday concert as well as the flute concerto soloist Judith Hand will perform with our orchestra Sunday. This flute concerto is called Il gardellino, or in English “The Goldfinch,” and one can almost hear the sprightly song and nimble flight of this bird in Vivaldi’s solo writing.

Also featured on Sunday’s program is music by Ottorino Respighi, a composer whose stunningly beautiful suites and concerti helped Italy establish a new orchestral repertoire in the opening decades of the twentieth century. These orchestral scores are always wonderfully colorful and at times can also be bombastic—think, for example, his Roman Festivals. Sunday we will hear two Respighi scores, including the Third Suite of Ancient Airs and Dances for strings alone and his Three Botticelli Pictures for a wider orchestral lineup.

A music historian as well as a composer, Respighi explores both aspects of his career in these brilliant works: while Ancient Airs and Dances is based on guitar and lute music of the 1500s and 1600s, the Botticelli Pictures recreate paintings by Italian artist Sandro Botticelli who worked in Florence during the early Renaissance. To speak on Respighi’s inspirations in visual art, the RSO is joined by Catherine Pears, director of the Alexandria Museum of Art.

La Primavera is one of three paintings by Sandro Botticelli which Respighi recreates musically.

Tickets to “RSO Chamber Players” can be purchased online or by calling the Orchestra at 318.442.9709. Concert starts at 2:30 PM at downtown Alexandria’s beautiful Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. Learn even more about Sunday’s repertoire in the informative program notes I have prepared. Sunday’s concert will be a beautiful way for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra to start its new year—a year which will also welcome its Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations this fall. Until then, also be sure to catch upcoming concerts “Variations on a Theme” on March 12 and “The Magic Flute” on May 7. Stay tuned to MusicCentral for more inside looks into central Louisiana’s vibrant music community!

JSH 16.01.27

About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a music scholar, composer, and advocate of music. He is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ CollegeLouisiana’s designated honors college located on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. While there, Jackson completed an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” He has followed classical music around the world, attending the BachFest Leipzig in Germany, Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival, and many concerts across Louisiana and Texas. Resident in Alexandria, Louisiana, Jackson works with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana as Series Director of the Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series. He also writes the program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra, blogs at MusicCentral, and continues to study other aspects of music in his spare time. His four-movement Suite for Solo Guitar, Op. 21 received its world premiere on November 5, 2015 at Abendmusik Alexandria.


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