On Saturday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helena Civic Center, the Helena Symphony Orchestra brings a night of myth and mystery with four famous composers. Linda Kuhn, the popular Principal Cellist of the Helena Symphony, will solo on Schumann’s Cello Concerto.
Maurice Ravel’s enchanting Mother Goose: Suite will open the evening. Ravel retells several ancient French fairy tales in music. Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, and Beauty and the Beast are among the characters that appear. For example, the clarinet represents Beauty; the contrabassoon is the Beast; and a solo violin announces the change of the Beast into a handsome prince. The final movement has a “happily ever after” ending.
Next, Linda Kuhn stars in Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto. “Ms. Kuhn has studied and toured in Europe,” points out Music Director Allan R. Scott. “She is skilled enough to play with any orchestra in America, but she and her family choose to live in Helena. That is most fortunate for all of us.”
The world renowned cellist, Pablo Casals, called Schumann’s Cello Concerto “one of the finest works one could wish to hear – sublime music from beginning to end.”
The Principal Cellist of the Helena Symphony Orchestra for over a decade, Ms. Kuhn studied at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and continued her studies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She studied in Germany. That led to her touring Europe with different orchestras and quartets. Eventually Ms. Kuhn returned to teach at Montana State University, before moving with her family to Helena. Playing on a 19th century French cello, Ms. Kuhn teaches cello and piano, and performs not only with the Helena Symphony Orchestra, but also as a guest with other symphonies and PBS broadcasts.
Olivier Messiaen may not be as familiar a name as the other three composers, but his Les Offrandes Oubliées (The Forgotten Offerings) will speak to many concert-goers. Composed when he was only 22, this is a brief but time-suspended meditation revealing the depth of his belief as a devout French Catholic.
The evening will close with Richard Strauss’ Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration). Strauss’ music symbolizes the end of the Romantic period. He wrote this piece when he was only 25. One of his most influential and popular works, it tells of a dying man as he looks back on his life, struggles with death, and then leaves the world behind to achieve true perfection in a world beyond. The work has influenced countless composers from Gustav Mahler to film composer John Williams.
“We will explore myth and mystery through these four composers,” Maestro Scott promises. “While not as famous as Mozart and Beethoven, these four very different pieces will provide a musical journey to mysterious foreign places inside each of us. Only time will tell whether Richard Strauss was correct when, on his own deathbed at the age of 85, he said that ‘dying is just as I composed it.’”
Tickets can be purchased on line at helenasymphony.org, or by calling the Symphony Box Office (406.442.1860), or visiting the Symphony Box Office on the Walking Mall at the Livestock Building (2 N. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 1) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.