Photo contributed by Brad Rankin
Maestro Raffaele Ponti conducts members of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center. The repertoire at symphony's performance this Saturday includes Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 4, and is intended to showcase the musicians' talents.
Not every concert needs a guest soloist to keep things interesting.
The star of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concert will be the symphony itself.
Saturday’s performance will feature a repertoire — including Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 — that showcases the group’s talents.
“This (program) allows every person in that orchestra to demonstrate how much passion ... they have. This is why musicians became musicians: to play repertoire like this,” said Raffaele Ponti, artistic director and conductor of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.
Ponti said he conceived of the program as a lineup of classical music’s greatest hits. The evening begins with Hungarian Dances No. 1, written and orchestrated by Brahms. Ponti said he chose the piece because it highlights Brahms’ talent as an orchestrator, as well as a composer.
Impressionist composer Claude Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun” — which Ponti described as one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written — is next in the lineup.
The symphony also will play “Blumine,” a less famous piece by Gustav Mahler. The piece was originally included as the Andante movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, but the composer discarded it, Ponti said.
“Mahler himself was also an extraordinary conductor, and after conducting it, he decided that this movement did not fit into the format of the symphony. It was too different, too varied, and it made the symphony unbalanced,” Ponti said.
He added that “Blumine” resurfaced late in the 20th century, and is now played — though not often enough — as a standalone piece. The conductor said he included the movement in order to introduce the audience to something they may not have heard before.
The first half of the program will conclude with an overture from “Die Fledermaus,” an operetta by the younger Johann Strauss.
The latter half is devoted entirely to Brahms’ fourth and final symphony, Ponti said.
Ponti thinks of the Romantic composer as a quirky, fun guy he’d like to be friends with.
“(He also has) a serious streak, but there’s always this element of surprise in his music. It just grabs your heart and pulls it out of your chest. That’s what real talent is,” he said.
He continued: “We could analyze (the symphony) all day long. ... That’s nice for four people in the world, but the point is the real talent is unexplainable. How does this music grab your heart, mind and soul and take you on this ride, and within 45 minutes you don’t know where you’ve been or where you’re going?”
The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, 100 Kentucky Ave. Tickets may be purchased by calling the symphony box office at 270-444-0065, or online at paducahsymphony.org.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641. Want to go?
What: The Paducah Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.
Where: The Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, 100 Kentucky Ave.
Tickets may be purchased by calling the symphony box office at 270-444-0065, or online at paducahsymphony.org.