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Stand Up for Haydn
John Corigliano’s Promenade Overture is a modern take on a classical masterpiece.
The composer admitted as much in his program notes from the 1981 work. He commented that Franz Joseph Haydn’s Farewell Symphony caught him “off guard.” During the final movement of this symphony, the players exit until only a pair of violins remains. Intrigued by the notion of reversing the process — orchestra members entering at the beginning of a work while playing — Corigliano wrote an overture that does just that.
Corigliano explained of his rendition, “Offstage brass announce the start of the work, with the trumpets playing the last five measures of the Farewell Symphony — backward. This forms a fanfare announcing the promenade of performers, which starts with the piccolo, concludes with the tuba, and contains a variety of motives which eventually form a lyrical melody that is built to a climax by the full orchestra.”
(Interestingly enough, Haydn used his last movement’s theatrical flourish as a statement for his patron Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. He was suggesting that his overworked musicians longed to return home to Eisenstadt from the prince’s summer palace in Eszterhaza in rural Hungary. In 1772, when this piece was performed, in the final movement, musicians stood up, extinguished the candles on their music stands and left the room. Haydn appears to have made his point, as the next day the court returned to Eisenstadt.)
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Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!
Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.
Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the May concert program in depth.
Friday, May 10 at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.
Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.