From Music Director Daniel Meyer
I suppose the finale concert of any concert season is filled with nostalgia to some degree. It is a chance for the Philharmonic to look back on a season filled with highlights, musical triumphs, and happy collaborations. We can also take stock of how far we have come as an ensemble – how well we make music together, how vividly we realize the intentions and dreams of our composers, and how deeply those impressions have been printed on the hearts and souls of you, our beloved audience. We can also look forward to a future of making-music together that will continue to increase in quality and richness, also thanks in large part to your enthusiasm for how we play on the Warner stage and throughout our region.
In some ways, the musical selections that make up our season finale program reflect those backwards and forwards glances. The Bach keyboard concerto Simone Dinnerstein will play certainly takes us back to a time of the clean, lean musical textures of the Baroque-era concerto. We revere Bach for his musical intelligence, but we respond to Bach for the coursing energy that runs through his counterpoint and dance rhythms.
Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony seeks to capitalize on looking backwards towards the greats who have gone before (namely Haydn) in a sprightly mini symphony. While dabbling in nostalgia, he also points forwards with thoroughly modern, sometimes unexpected and sudden harmonic changes.
Ravel fondly looks way back, to Greek antiquity, in choosing to set Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe in a full-length ballet. But he also clearly bathes in sumptuous, unabashedly sensual orchestral colors and rich harmonies that could not have even been imagined before. This music delights in the interplay between sonic saturation and stark, spare moments. I suppose that is one of the reasons why this work is so effective on the concert stage, apart from any dancing, costumes, or sets.
Even the brand-new piece that we helped commission, Phillip Glass’ Third Piano Concerto, pays a debt to Bach in its use of a Baroque-era orchestra (strings only) and Bach-ian counterpoint. Glass’ modern twist, of course, is how his repetitions and slight modifications to texture and musical notes creates a slow evolution and an emotional state not unfamiliar to Indian music lovers.
So let’s look and listen forwards and backwards together next weekend. Let’s delight in how composers respect and even subsume elements of the creators who lived long before, yet also delight in the departures they take from those influences. Together let us celebrate the finale of the 17-18 Erie Philharmonic Symphonic Season, and also look forward to another nostalgic and forward-looking 18-19 Season with a sense of discovery and delight!
Music Director, Erie Philharmonic