The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will be performing at the Meyerhoff this Thursday, Friday and Sunday. On the program are Anton?n Dvor?k's New World Symphony, the Academic Festival Overture by Johannes Brahms and Dmitri Shostakovich' s From Jewish Folk Poetry.
Dvor?k was the director of the National Conservatory in New York from 1892-1895. He enjoyed his time spent in the U.S. (spending his summers in Spillville, Iowa, where apparently Czech is spoken), and was deeply impressed by Negro spirituals and Native American folk melodies. "I am now satisfied that the future music of this country must be founded upon what are called the Negro melodies," he said in an 1893 interview, in what can be considered the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States. The New World Symphony is probably Dvor?k's best-known work.
Don't think the Academic Festival Overture is stuffy because it has the A-word in its title. Brahms actually wrote the Overture using favorite student songs that were sung throughout German universities; it was to acknowledge the honorary doctorate degree he received from the University of Breslau in 1879. In 1881, Brahms himself conducted the Overture's premiere in Breslau.
From Jewish Folk Poetry is what its title says: a cycle of songs drawn from a collection of Yiddish folk poems. Shostakovich completed the work in 1948 for soprano, mezzo, tenor and piano, but it was not performed until 1955 - two years after Stalin's death. The piano accompaniment was orchestrated in 1964. Childhood, love and poverty are among the scenes painted in From Jewish Folk Poetry.
Maestro Temirkanov steps up to the podium once again to conduct this program and is joined three authentic Russian vocalists: soprano Oksana Krovytska, mezzo Marianna Tarasova and tenor Vsevolod Grivnov.
The BSO is selling rush tickets this weekend; it's $10 for students, $20 for everyone else. Student tickets go on sale at noon the day of the concert - remember your JCard, and if you' re buying more than one ticket, you need to bring all IDs with you. Doors generally open at 7 p.m. Thursday. Friday's concerts start at 8 p.m.; Sunday's performance begins at 3 p.m.
The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is located a few blocks from Penn Station on the corner of Preston and Cathedral Streets. Check out http://www.baltimoresymphony.org for directions, or call the BSO ticket office at 410-783-8000.