The beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church in downtown Charlottetown is again the venue for the final PEI Symphony concert of this season, on Sunday April 6th, during East Coast Music Week here in Charlottetown PEI.
Under the direction of new music director Mark Shapiro the April program includes music by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Wagner fresh from his victory over Verdi in our recent Audience Choice Battle. Our program for this concert:
- Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg, by Richard Wagner
- Jeu de Cartes, by Igor Stravinsky
- Symphony No. 6, the “Pathétique”, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
For more information about each work, read on below.
The concert starts at 2:30m at the Zion Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Prince and Grafton streets downtown. Please note there will be no Pre-Concert Talk for this event due to timing limitations, but Maestro Shapiro will provide context for each piece during the concert!
There is a new special Family Package rate available for this concert – $80 for up to two adults to bring up to four children. Tickets are available at the door, at the Confederation Centre Box Office, or online.
On Sunday April 6th the PEI Symphony presents the last concert of the season, again at the beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church in downtown Charlottetown. The PEI Symphony recently performed its annual Winter Storm concert at the Zion in February and those in attendance enjoyed the wonderful acoustics, and intimate setting – perfect for a classical music event.
Written in 1893 and first performed in October that year nine days before Tchaikovsky’s death, his Symphony No. 6 in B minor is the composer’s last symphony. Only 55 years old when he died Tchaikovsky was both famous and admired globally as one of the greatest composers ever. Circumstances surrounding his death coupled with the tragic tone of this symphony famously titled “Pathétique” have left a mystique that persists to this day, leading to recent debates among musicologists about possible suicide, rumours of homosexuality and questions surrounding the composition of the piece. In late 1892 Tchaikovsky had abruptly decided to abandon work on another symphony on which he had been struggling. For a time despondent about composition, by February 1893 he had begun the work that would prove to be his greatest.
The title Pathétique was famously proposed by his brother Modest. In Russian the word carries a meaning closer to passionate, full of emotion, suffering and some say despair. Like his abandoned symphony the Pathétique score is programmatic, but as he wrote “with such a program that will remain a mystery to everyone—let them guess.” Private notes refer to a symphony about life’s joys and sorrows, which would be similar to the central themes of both Swan Lake and Eugene Onegin, the great theme of the composer’s life: “the painful search for an ideal that is never satisfied”.
About a week after Tchaikovsky’s death, the Pathétique was performed for a second time. In the audience was an impressionable 11 year old boy who would soon become Russia’s most celebrated composer. Forty four years later Igor Stravinsky would create his charming “Jeu de cartes” which the PEI Symphony will also perform in April. Jeu de cartes, or ‘card game’ in English is a ballet in three “deals” composed in 1936–37, with the story by Stravinsky and M. Malaieff and with choreography by the famed George Balanchine. The ballet premiered in 1937 in New York City, by the American Ballet with the composer conducting. The main character is a deceitful Joker, who fashions himself unbeatable, owing to his ability to become any card. Jeu de Cartes shows that even the powerful Aces and Queens can occasionally be defeated by the common cards.
For the first time ever, the PEI Symphony will be performing a work chosen by the audience, through an “Audience Choice Battle” featuring competing overtures by Verdi and Wagner. In March the PEI Symphony called for audience voting to determine the overture which will be performed. The choices were:
- The Overture to La Forza del Destino, by Guiseppi Verdi or
- The Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg, by Richard Wagner.
Fans were invited to vote for either the dastardly force of destiny – or the divine pursuit of musical excellence to win a future of love! After a record number of votes - the highest ever in PEI Symphony history - Wagner emerged triumphant in our Audience Choice battle. Verdi fans can be proud for their late comeback attempt in the final 48 hours of our contest, but in the end the legion of Wagner fans held on to their early lead.
To make it easier for families to enjoy the beauty and power of live orchestral music together, the PEI Symphony is delighted to announce a new $80 Family Package for this concert. Family groups with up to two adults and up to four children can attend for a single price of only $80. Please call 892-4333 to order these packages.
The concert will be held on Sunday April 6 at 2:30pm, at the Zion Presbyterian Church, 135 Prince Street at the corner of Grafton. Due to rehearsal scheduling, there will be no Pre-Concert Talk with Maestro Shapiro. Tickets will be available at the door, in advance at the Confederation Centre box office, or online at www.confederationcentre.com. Tickets are $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children. For more information please call 892-4333.
This is the final concert of the PEI Symphony season and the program for the 2014-2015 season will be announced shortly with subscription sales beginning in April. Among the highlights for next season is a special PEI 2014 concert event scheduled for November 2014. Subscriptions are only $110 for four concerts for adults and seniors and $50 for students.