Annelle K. Gregory performs Stravinsky Violin Concerto in D
The Pasadena Community Orchestra (PCO) will perform John Adam’s “Short Ride in a Fast Machine,” Elgar’s “Nimrod from Enigma Variations,” Mozart’s “Impresario Overture,” Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” as well as Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D with Annelle K. Gregory under the baton of Music Director Beth Pflueger. This free concert will be held at First Church of the Nazarene (3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena) on May 10 at 8 p.m.
Completed in 1986, John Adam’s “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” is a post minimalism, polyrhythmic piece scored for a large symphonic orchestra. Adams once stated that he “seeks to enrich the experience of perceiving the way that time is divided” with this work. It begins with a pulsing woodblock which continues throughout, while the rest of the orchestra progresses into a fast-paced and energetic joy ride in a Lamborghini.
In a program note for Elgar’s “Nimrod from Enigma Variations” 1911 performance, Elgar wrote: “This work, commenced in a spirit of humor and continued in deep seriousness, contains sketches of the composer’s friends. It may be understood that these personages comment or reflect on the original theme and each one attempts a solution of the Enigma, for so the theme is called.” The name Nimrod refers to a “mighty hunter,” in reference to Elgar’s close friend and music publisher, Augustus J. Jaeger.
Mozart referred to his “Impresario Overture” as “comedy with music.” It was written as a commission for a musical competition created by Hapsburg Emperor Joseph II who wanted to showcase his two theatrical composers (Italian vs. German). The overture introduces the comedy opera that follows with swift opening fanfares made up of horns, trumpets, timpani and racing violins.
Russian composer Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky wrote the “1812 Overture” in 1880. It was a piece that he was commissioned to write in order to commemorate the successful Russian defense against Napoleon’s invading Grande Armée in 1812. Woven through with Russian folk melodies and the French anthem “La Marseillaise,” it ends in a rousing celebration of Russia’s victory with “God Save the Tsar.” It has stood the test of time and is often used to celebrate the Fourth of July in America.
Originally written in 1931 in collaboration with Polish-born violinist Samuel Dushkin, Igor Stravinksy’s Violin Concerto in D reinvents what a soloist concerto is. Stravinsky’s lack of experience composing for the violin resulted in a truly original work like no other. The piece combines the solo violin with other instruments and omits any hint of a flashy cadenza. Annelle K. Gregory will be performing this piece with PCO on Friday, May 10, 2019.