Maestro Linus Lerner returns to direct Tchaikovsky

Director Linus Lerner returns to the podium to lead the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in the season’s second concert. This program includes a work commemorating the centennial of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten in 1913; Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten for Strings by Arvo Part. A more unusual work is John Ritter’s Mass of the Children for orchestra and chorus featuring the Tucson Boys Chorus. The third selection is one of the greatest violin concertos, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major. This program will have four performances with the first three held at 7:30 p.m.: Green Valley Presbyterian Church on November 7, St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson on November 8, DesertView Performing Arts Auditorium in SaddleBrooke on November 9, and November 10 at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Oro Valley at 3:00 p.m.

Tchaikovsky’s concerto is German in form but Russian Nationalist also, using folk themes as melodies. At its inception, it was deemed unplayable but with modifications it was premiered in 1880 in Vienna by Adolf Brodsky. Where in piano concertos the solo instrument can compete equally with the orchestra, the solo violin; a more delicate instrument cannot, requiring composers to allow for this. Three things to note in concertos-ritornello or orchestra alone-tutti soloist and orchestra-cadenza soloist alone usually. This concerto is in the standard three movements but may sound like just two. One obvious detail is that this is a virtuoso work and has a very difficult solo part in the first and third movements.

Movement I opens with a ritornello in moderate tempo followed by a mini cadenza opening the first theme and then a march like second theme with double and triple stops, bowing on more than one string. The cadenza comes before the recapitulation which is followed by a coda finale. Movement II opens with a slow delicate woodwind ritornello in G minor. This beautiful section gives the soloist a breather from the fireworks to come. The form is ABA with an accelerating slower second theme. After A repeats it goes directly attacca into Movement III in A major is very fast and is a mixed sonata-rondo form. In addition to the brilliance, listen for the high harmonics.

Soloist is Edwin E. Soo Kim from Korea. Following high school he moved to Vienna where he studied with Igor Ozim, Kristov Wegrzyov and Boris Kuschner. He has soloed with the Berlin Symphony, orchestras in Asia and has given recitals in Europe and Asia. For additional orchestra details go to