This exuberant program, with big emotions and bold accents, is anchored by Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. A psychological journey, the work opens with a stunning brass fanfare, closes with a euphoric final movement, and travels the breadth of human experience in between. Tchaikovsky’s life was full of emotional crises, and his Fourth Symphony was written during an especially trying time when he was involved with two women—one of them his patroness Nadezhda von Meck. Their fourteen-year “affair” was carried on strictly through letters; the two shared a common revulsion for physical relations with the opposite sex. He dedicated this work to von Meck and in a “private” program for her, he describes the opening fanfare as “Fate, the fatal power which hinders one in the pursuit of happiness.” The energetic finale restates the “fate” theme and ends with the words, “Rejoice in the happiness of others and you can still live.”
American composer Gabriela Lena Frank’s The Keeper and the Dove was warmly received in Aspen in 2018. She returns with her colorful and expressive Three Latin American Dances. The first, “Jungle Jaunt,” she describes as “an unabashed tribute” to the urban jungle evoked in Bernstein’s West Side Story. The melancholy “Highland Harawi” follows with its echoes of the bamboo Andean flute. The work concludes with the brassy “Mestizo Waltz,” a pun on Lizst’s famous Mephisto Waltzes.
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