Friday, October 14, 2016 8:00PM
Copley Symphony Hall

Not On Sale

A Jacobs Masterworks Concert

This concert is made possible through the generosity of Raffaella and John Belanich.

Jahja Ling, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin

WILLIAM SCHUMAN: American Festival Overture
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90

Grammy Award-winning Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists performing today, and Felix Mendelssohn’s concerto is one of the most perfect (and popular) ever written. Artist and art come together at the heart of our first Jacobs Masterworks weekend of the 2016-17 season.

The concert opens with William Schuman's briskly spirited American Festival Overture, our sizzling keynote work promising a delightful season full of "made in America" music. Music Director Jahja Ling, beginning his final season with the SDSO, closes with Johannes Brahms' Third Symphony, a mid-life masterwork of rare color and subtlety powered by a real romance and shot through with rustic, woodsy charm. Don’t miss this program of exquisite beauty, energy and elegance!

In 2002, Jahja Ling led The Cleveland Orchestra in a performance of Brahms' Third Symphony at Cleveland's famous Blossom Festival. The performance inspired this review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer's classical music reviewer, Donald Rosenberg:

Ling's performance of Brahms' Symphony No. 3 was one for the books, an account so sensitive, urgent and glowingly played that it may be remembered as the 2002 Blossom season's high point. Believe me, you can go to Berlin and Vienna and other major music centers and not experience Brahms on this level. As shaped by Ling, the Third Symphony unfolded with organic spontaneity. The bold phrases received thrusting emphasis, while the lyrical moments had ample space to breathe. Ling turned every moment into a compelling statement. His pacing was unerring, and he maintained balances that placed each instrumental detail in context. The connection between orchestra and conductor verged on the telepathic. This was chamber music on a grand scale...and an extraordinary unity of purpose.

The most recent performance of Brahms' Third Symphony by Jahja Ling and the SDSO, in January 2012, generated this very positive review by the San Diego Union-Tribune's classical music critic, James Chute:

It was Brahms that drew the best out of Ling in Friday’s Masterworks program at Copley Symphony Hall...Given Ling and the San Diego Symphony’s satisfying rendering of the Symphony No. 3, let’s hope it’s not another two decades before the Third Symphony is programmed again. The Symphony No. 3 is more notable for its warmth and congeniality rather than its drama, and Ling’s sensitive interpretation properly emphasized the music’s intimacy. Certainly there are plenty of loud passages...but Ling essentially used those passages to set up the quieter ones. And then when the music turned slightly inward, he would let it free and the individual lines, in particular the solo woodwinds, would soar. The ensemble’s fine principal clarinet Sheryl Renk and principal bassoon Valentin Martchev played seamlessly together...In the second movement, with the primary theme moving back and forth between the woodwinds and the strings, Renk, Martchev and principal oboist Sarah Skuster separately and together provided a clinic in wind playing and melodic expressiveness. For his part, Ling let them, and Brahms, have their way. Rather than pushing the music...he allowed it to expand and move forward on its own. At the same time, he was in complete control of the music’s large-scale architecture, shaping the piece in such a way that each movement’s quiet ending had surprising impact.

Music Director Jahja Ling will be signing CD copies of a live recording from that 2012 performance of Brahms' Third Symphony after each concert this weekend!

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