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Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra's Opening Night

LPO Music Director Matthew Kraemer
LPO Music
LPO Music Director Matthew Kraemer

Tune in Friday, September 22nd at 6pm on Classical 104.9FM\WWNO HD2 and Monday, September 25th at 8pm on 89.9FM to hear new Music Director, Matthew Kraemer lead the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra on opening night of the 33rd season with a trio of works that set the stage for what’s ahead in LPO's new era.

Prior to opening night, WWNO's Diane Mack spoke with Kraemer and orchestra executive director Anwar Nasir about their vision for the LPO in this upcoming season.

Diane Mack Interviews LPO's Matthew Kraemer and Anwar Nasir

The opening night program features:

  • Stacy Garrop: Song of Orpheus
    Composed in 2023, commissioned by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
    This is a world premiere by the LPO
    “It is always a joy to compose celebratory music! When the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra approached me to write a new work, they were excited about beginning a new chapter in their organization with Matthew Kraemer, their incoming Music Director. As my new work would open their fall concert season, this would be the first piece that Mr. Kraemer performs with the musicians. A new chapter, a new leaf, a new season…a celebration is truly in order!

    In addition to wanting to write joyous music, I was particularly inspired by the Orpheum Theater, the LPO’s longtime performance venue. Built in 1918, this Beaux-Arts style house was originally part of a chain of theaters around the country that were all named after Orpheus, a musician in ancient Greek mythology. Orpheus’ music could charm all of nature, subduing the violent tendencies of animals with the sweetness of his song.

    Song of Orpheus opens with Orpheus strumming his lyre at the dawn of a new day. He begins humming while he strums, then he breaks into full voice. Nearby animals are charmed by his song and begin a lively, light-footed dance. Rocks soon fall under his charm as well and join the dance with a heavy, off-kilter step. More charmed animals join in, and soon all of creation sings in unity with Orpheus. As the celebration winds down, we hear Orpheus’ song echoing throughout the world.

    Song of Orpheus was commissioned by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. As a tribute to five musicians who took part in forming the LPO in 1991 and who are still performing with the group today, you will hear solos for the piccolo, bass clarinet, viola, cello, and harp.”

    -Stacy Garrop
  • Paul Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber
    Composed in 1940/1943
    First performed 20 January 1944 by the New York Philharmonic, Artur Rodzinski conductor
    First LPO performance October 5, 2007

    After several years of creative and political conflict with the Nazi government, which he detested, Hindemith found his way to the United States in 1940. Work on Symphonic Metamorphosis began that same year. The work began as a collaboration with Léonide Massine for use in a ballet. The two artists eventually met with creative differences and parted ways. Hindemith revisited the work in 1943, working it into a more vibrant and animated piece that appealed to American audiences. The resulting work was a showcase of the expanded scope, in both orchestration and complexity, of the post-Romantic era. Symphonic Metamorphosis premiered with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1944 and was an instant success.

    Hindemith sourced his themes for the first, third, and fourth movements from a book of lesser-known piano duets written by Carl Maria von Weber between 1802 and 1819, which Hindemith had often played with his wife. Although Hindemith created drastic modifications to the harmonies and sweeping extensions of phrases throughout the work, he left von Weber’s structure and melodies relatively intact. Both the first and last movements are marches, with simple introductions that become more complex as the movement progresses. The second, and perhaps the most grandiose movement, was born from different thematic material. The theme for the Scherzo was based on Weber’s 1809 incidental music to Friedrich Schiller’s adaptation of Turandot, a play by Carlo Gozzi (later adapted for opera by Puccini). For the incidental music, Weber used a Chinese tune, likely adapted to Western tonality, found in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Dictionnaire de Musique, an anthology published in 1768.

    What to listen for: In the second movement, the theme is repeated eight times, with increasing intensity. At the climax, the brass section takes the theme into a syncopated variation and fugue. In the third movement, a lilting flute solo is entirely Hindemith’s creation, and is not part of the thematic material taken from Weber.

  • Ludwig Van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
    Composed 1803-1808
    Premiered on December 22, 1808, in Vienna, Austria
    Last performed by the LPO on May 8, 2020

    Symphony No. 5 is perhaps Beethoven’s most widely appreciated work, dazzling audiences since its premiere in 1808 and referenced ubiquitously in pop culture. The instantly recognizable opening 4-note motif, a pulsing musical statement repeated almost obsessively throughout the piece, casts aside the formalities, trills, and graces of the classical period and plunges the audience into the harsh and turbulent world of Napoleon’s revolution in Europe. According to Anton Schindler, secretary, friend, and biographer to Beethoven whose adherence to facts is sometimes questioned, Beethoven described this opening theme as “fate knocking at the door”.

    Composition on this symphony began in 1803, shortly after the premiere of his third symphony “Eroica”. Progress was slow, as Beethoven frequently interrupted his work to focus on other compositions. Between beginning the composition in 1803 and its completion in 1808, Beethoven also penned his Appassionato piano sonata, a violin concerto, fourth piano concerto, 4th symphony, and the Mass in C, among others. The bulk of the composition occurred in 1807 and 1808 and was completed at roughly the same time as Symphony No. 6 in F Major. Both works were premiered at the same event, with the C minor symphony listed as No. 6 and the F major as No. 5. At some point between the performance and the publication, Beethoven renumbered the works as we know them today. Symphony No. 5 received mild critical responses until a rave review published in Allemeine musikalische Zeitung, over a year after the premiere. The author of the review E.T.A. Hoffman, most famous for penning the story that inspired The Nutcracker, said this of the symphony: “How this wonderful composition, in a climax that climbs on and on, leads the listener imperiously forward into the spirit world of the infinite! … No doubt the whole rushes like an ingenious rhapsody past many a man, but the soul of each thoughtful listener is assuredly stirred, deeply and intimately, by a feeling that is none other than that unutterable portentous longing, and until the final chord—indeed, even in the moments that follow it—he will be powerless to step out of that wondrous spirit realm where grief and joy embrace him in the form of sound.”

Program notes by Adrienne Stratton

Many thanks to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for their collaboration on this radio program. Visit theLPO for tickets and more information about their upcoming season.

Crescent Classical is made possible thanks to the generous support of local classical music lovers Ann and Dr. Richard Strub and Dr. Bob Watzke.