A “SYMPHONIC (R)EVOLUTION” COMES TO MAR-A-LAGO Pianist Lola Astanova returns to close the season for the Palm Beach Symphony

PALM BEACH, FL (March 4, 2015) – Palm Beach Symphony comes back to Mar-a-Lago on March 18th for a grandiose conclusion to the season with “Symphonic (R)evolution.”  The performance will include Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Opus 96 and Symphony No. 12, Opus 112, describing the Russian Revolution.  Appearing last season with the Symphony, Palm Beach favorite and Russian born Lola Astanova returns as a special guest artist and will bridge the two revolutionary pieces with Russian Romanticism on piano performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Opus 43.

“Russian (R)evolution will feature music by two classical composers, who although are from the same country and time period, evolved differently as artists in almost antagonistic ways: Rachmaninov’s ultra- Romanticism vs. Shostakovich’s revolutionary composition, both keep the Russian essence in the spirit of their music,” notes Palm Beach Symphony Artistic & Music Director Ramón Tebar, who will also conduct the orchestra for the Symphony’s season finale.

Virtuoso pianist, Astanova, will connect the two Shostakovich pieces with Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. This particular theme has an elegant harmonic pattern and a memorable melodic shape, but perhaps its greatest appeal to composers is its somewhat sinister, devilish nature, a mood that matches the mythical image of Paganini himself.

Astanova’s passion for performing is reminiscent of the Romantic age virtuosi, such as Rachmaninoff himself, and remains her greatest love. Appropriately, her Carnegie Hall debut paid a rich and profound debt to her Romantic roots with a special Tribute to Horowitz concert that took place on January 19, 2012. The concert, chaired by Donald Trump and hosted by Dame Julie Andrews, became a historic occasion as Astanova delivered a triumphant performance in front of a sold out crowd of three thousand.  “…Astanova rocked Carnegie Hall… She danced with the piano!” exclaimed the New York Daily News.

According to Palm Beach Symphony Program Annotator Aaron Grad, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, born in Russia a generation apart, occupied vastly different worlds. Shostakovich spent his entire working life navigating the shifting sands of state support and condemnation, channeling his enormous creativity into music that was, on its surface, approachable and politically correct, as in the ecstatic Festive Overture. He composed fifteen revolutionary symphonies in that climate, including the Symphony No. 12. His Festive Overture was composed in a three-day burst, just in time for an anniversary celebration of the October Revolution. The overture is pure, glitzy propaganda.  A bold fanfare begins the overture and returns near the end, establishing a bright and ceremonial tone. The body of the overture strikes up stereotypes of Classical overtures and churns through them at warp speed. Closing the concert, Symphony No. 12, has an opening movement meant to evoke the tense, agitated mood in Petrograd (previously St. Petersburg, later renamed Leningrad) before the October Revolution.

Rachmaninov, by contrast, was already an international star when the Bolshevik takeover forced him to flee Russia for good. The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was Rachmaninov’s last work for piano and orchestra and it marked an end point in the long tradition of Romantic composer-performers, stretching back to Liszt and Paganini himself.

A cocktail reception begins at 6:00 p.m. on March 18th at Mar-a-Lago and precedes the concert which begins at 7:30 p.m. The event is by invitation only. For more information please contact the Palm Beach Symphony at 561.655.2657 or info@palmbeachsymphony.org.

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The mission of the Palm Beach Symphony is to engage, educate and entertain the greater community of the Palm Beaches through live performances of inspiring orchestral music. The Palm Beach Symphony was founded in 1974 in recognition of the need for a professional orchestra in Palm Beach. The Symphony performs in a variety of historically important venues including Bethesda-By-The-Sea, Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Mar-a-Lago and The Society of the Four Arts.

 

 

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