SASO to perform  Season Concert IV

Punch Howarth

Program four of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra season will present a divergent group of selections. Included will be a viola concerto, a new work premier, incidental music to a play and a concerto movement performed by the winner of the SASO young artist competition. Conductor Linus Lerner also leads the Rio Grande do Norte Symphony in Brazil and the Oaxaca Opera Festival in Mexico. In addition he has guest conducted in Bulgaria, Turkey, Czech Republic, China, Mexico and Brazil.

Composers for centuries have turned to the Bible and the Mass for inspiration in composing. Some for money and status, others because religious works were the only acceptable outlet and still others because of deep religious need. This later reason will apply to the premier of Psalm 22 by Michael Kiefer. This large scale work for full orchestra is in five parts. In Part I the first theme is based upon the hymn The Wondrous Cross and will reoccur at the end of each of the five parts. The second theme in Part I is a cello solo playing a funeral march to the cross as a contrast to the opening theme.

Part II is a powerful statement about the violence of the crucifixion and is followed by more tranquil music in Part III following the wondrous cross theme. This music is based upon the mourning during the suffering on the cross. The violent music of Part II returns in Part IV. The finale in Part V is basically a repeat of Part I with the exception that a processional of worship and praise replaces the funeral march. Also the Part III suffering theme is transformed into a fanfare of praise.

Composer Michael Kiefer and his wife suffered the loss of an infant and were able to find peace from Biblical verse Psalm 22 and later Michael was able to express this experience in Psalm 22 for Symphony Orchestra. SASO has the privilege to present the first performances of this new work.

Opening the concert is Psalm 22 which is followed by Martinu’s Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra featuring Hong-Mei Xiao, the youth competition winner, not yet selected, and Aram Khachaturian’s Suite Masquerade in five parts to a play by Lermontov. The concert will be performed in Green Valley at Valley Presbyterian Church at on April 10 at 7:00 p.m. at SaddleBrooke on April 11 at 7:30 p.m. at DesertView Arts Center and in Oro Valley at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on April 12 at 3:00 p.m.

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