The Helena Symphony continues its 65th Season on Saturday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helena Civic Center with internationally-noted Violinist Robyn Bollinger and Bruckner’s epic Symphony No. 4.
Firecracker Violinist Robyn Bollinger, proclaimed as “daring, charismatic, and passionate,” performs French composer Édouard Lalo’s fiery Symphonie espagnole. Last Season superstar Violinist Robyn Bollinger performed Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires in a special non-series chamber music concert with the Helena Symphony Orchestra. “Robyn brought the house down with her energy and exciting performance that audience members simply wanted to experience her again, so we did not hesitate to bring her back for a Masterworks Concert,” explains Music Director Allan R. Scott.
Ms. Bollinger is one of the world’s young virtuosos taking the stage by storm. She is a popular figure on the chamber music stage, appearing recently throughout Japan in addition to performance throughout the United States. She served as a Young Artist Fellow for Music for Food, the national musician-led initiative for local hunger relief. Having made her solo debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra at age twelve, Ms. Bollinger has since performed with orchestras and at festivals nationwide, among them the Boston Pops, the Grand Tetons Music Festival Orchestra, and the music festivals of Aspen, Lake Champlain, Maui, Marlboro, and Rockport.
Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole is a masterpiece that Lalo collaborated with acclaimed 19th century Violinist Pablo de Sarasate. “If one was not aware that Bizet’s Carmen did not premiere for another year, one would swear Lalo was writing a tribute to the Spanish dances in Carmen,” explains Maestro Scott. “Complete with strings and harp plucking like a Spanish guitar, the violin solo serenades us with a dance that is as alluring as Carmen herself. It is hypnotic as the haberna in Carmen and seduces us with some of the most virtuosic and colorful in all of music. Symphonie espagnole still has the power to tantalize audiences today with the same exotic flare.”
Following Ms. Bollinger’s performance of the Symphonie espagnole, the Helena Symphony Orchestra performs Anton Bruckner’s popular Fourth Symphony, composed in 1874 (the same year Lalo composed his work). Hailed as Bruckner’s greatest triumph and an extraordinary musical creation, his Symphony No. 4 and is a perfect escape from winter with sweeping sounds of grandeur. Subtitled “Romantic,” the Fourth Symphony is the only symphony that Bruckner titled. The nickname does not refer to romantic love, but medieval romance (knights, hunting scenes, towns, etc.) that are found in fairy tales or Wagner operas. Bruckner attempted to explain the “Romantic” subtitle by describing the first movement as a scene from the days of chivalry, the second movement as a rustic love scene, and the third as a hunting scene interrupted by a dance; but when asked about the finale, he admitted that he really forgot what the whole thing was about.
“As with so many other symphonies Bruckner composed, the Fourth Symphony uses Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 as a model for the large-scale structure: a lengthy first movement, a spacious slow movement, a scherzo, and an immense finale that combines many of the themes from the previous movements,” explains Maestro Scott. “Beethoven’s tragedy-to-joy notion in his Ninth Symphony seems much more of a tangible idea today than Bruckner’s more transcendent mysticism that permeates his Fourth Symphony. In addition to horn calls, the work is quintessential Bruckner, in that it is full of extreme range dynamics, sweeping and intense strings, and unrestrained jubilant affirmations in the brass.”
These two powerful works make for a perfect sultry exotic and triumphant escape from the cold of winter.
Single concert tickets can be purchased ($55-$15 plus a $5 transaction fee) online at www.helenasymphony.org, by calling the Symphony Box Office (406.442.1860), or visiting the Symphony Box Office located on the Walking Mall at the Livestock Building (2 N. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 1) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets for other Masterworks Concerts and the Benefit Concert at Montana Ting are also on sale and selling fast.
Maestro Scott or Ms. Bollinger may be available for interviews by contacting the
Symphony Office at 406.442.1860 or [email protected].