After seeing Irish actress Harriet Smithson in a Shakespeare play, Berlioz became consumed with writing his Symphonie Fantastique. He was so passionate about the piece that he wrote his own program notes, so the audience understood the story clearly. Phillip Huscher, in his program notes for the piece for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, said, “At the premiere, Berlioz himself was on stage—playing in the percussion section, as he often liked to do—to witness the audience cheering and stomping in excitement at the end.
Kayoko Dan, conductor
Frank Almond, violin
CSO Chorus, Darrin Hassevoort, director
Choral Arts of Chattanooga
Chattanooga State Concert Choir
BORODIN: Polovitsian Dances
BERLIOZ: Symphonie Fantastique
Alexander Borodin was unable to finish his Opera, Prince Igor, but his friends (Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov) stepped in and finished it for him in time for an 1890’s premiere. The Polovtsian Dances is an energetic and rhythm-driven dance performed by the CSO and the CSO Chorus. Serenade lets us know that Bernstein was a musical authority in the concert hall as well as on Broadway. Violinist Frank Almond, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, takes on what Orrin Howard, former director of publications at the LA Philharmonic calls ‘the athletic and expressive violinistics’ of the piece.