NOTES FROM THE MAESTRO
“I’m fascinated with two very different things: Halloween and the French composer Hector Berlioz. In this program I’m putting them together. Although Halloween will be at the end of October, we will celebrate early with Gothic Midnight. This concert features masterworks with otherworldly associations. The roots to Halloween stem from the early middle ages. On ‘All Hallows Eve’ Christians placed flowers on the graves of there loved ones. In the Gaelic culture the end of October marked the end of harvest. Spirits and fairies were supposed to be more active and many different traditions developed all the way to our time of witches, skeletons and ghouls. Which leads me to the main piece of the program.
Berlioz was born 1803, right after the French Revolution. He is the first completely independent composer, who’s creativity had nothing to do with his faith in God, the church, financial dependence on dukes or duchesses or a sense of symmetry and beauty of the ancient Greeks. Instead, the topic of his most famous work, the Symphony Fantastic, are his love escapades and opium trips, ending with the famous ‘Witches Sabbath.’ Musically he was way ahead of his contemporaries by creating colorful and fascinating orchestrations unheard of at the time.
Although the concert is a little early for Halloween, the program will start with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. In 1962, it was used to emphasize the horror that pervaded The Phantom of the Opera. The concerto of the evening is Hungarian composer Franz Liszt’s piano concerto No. 1. Liszt is either associated with being a monk or a devilish otherworldly piano virtuoso.”