April 9, 2012

Music of the Night

Thursday, April 12 and Saturday, April 14, the RPO celebrates spring with a two-night Spring Festival, featuring pieces by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Bartok, Sibelius, Richard Strauss, Christopher Rouse, and Joan Tower.

Saturday evening, the RPO string and percussion sections perform Mozart’s Serenata notturna (Evening Serenade). Notturna, meaning night or nocturnal, probably references the piece’s original role as a witty and entertaining piece to be performed at an evening social gathering. Click below for an audio preview of the Minuet and Trio.

Thursday, the string and percussion sections take center stage for evening music of a different kind, performing Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. Comprised of four movements, the third movement is representative of what is often referred to as Bartok’s night music—music that evokes the eerie otherworldy-ness of the nocturnal world. Bartok used this so-called night music in many of his slow movements and the night music style has since been used by composers from George Crumb to Miles Davis. While Mozart's Evening Serenade is the perfect accompaniment to a pleasant and sociable evening, Bartok evokes night at its lonliest and most macabre; the eerieness of this music was used to great effect by director Stanley Kubrick in his 1980 film The Shining.

Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is among Bartok's most famous pieces. (Next season, the RPO will perform another of Bartok's greatest and most famous works--the Concerto for Orchestra.)

Tickets start at $15. Buy a ticket to Thursday' s performance and get 50% off Saturday. For tickets, call 454-2100 or click here.