I don’t usually pass on publicity handouts without modification, but this from the Conservatory, where the wonderful Nina Bodnar presides as artistic director, seems to capture the spirit and quality of the event very happily: “When you take a group of dedicated young musicians, kids who get up early every Saturday morning to attend classes not only in music but in visual art, theater and creative writing, and you place them in front of a professional orchestra — what do you get? You get a breathtaking display of young talent grown from years of study and hard work. You get an afternoon of entertainment that rivals many professional symphony orchestras. You get music that washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Performed in front of an orchestra conducted by Avlana Eisenberg, the program will contain the following works — or movements therefrom — with the soloists:
Henryk Wieniawski’s Polonaise in D Major (Sofya Prykhitko on violin); Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 58 (Michael Sikich on piano); Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen (Camille Miller on violin); Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 in G Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 26 (Joshelle Conley on violin); Bruch’s Concerto No. 2 in D Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 44 (Andrew Horak on violin); Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto No. 5 in F Minor for Keyboard and Orchestra, BWV 1056 (Marcos Schneider on piano); Frédéric Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in F Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 22 (Grace Stanton on piano); Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto (Daria Etezadi on piano); and Robert Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 54 (Sophia Zheng on piano).
This is a model program for a concert like this. All of the works give opportunities for the passionate and accomplished virtuosity of the young musicians. All of the works — as much to the point, or more — have enviable track records of pleasing audiences. I am especially pleased that Bruch’s Second violin concerto has earned the right to be included on this list. In fact, Bruch wrote three violin concertos, so designated, plus seven other concerted works for violin and orchestra (including the gorgeous Scottish Fantasy), and all are worth hearing more than once.
I’m also pleased that Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto is still alive and well. If ever music needed no introduction, this is it, although there is an interesting backstory. It is from the soundtrack of a 1941 movie called Dangerous Moonlight (Suicide Squadron in the United States), which is the story of a (fictional) Polish pianist and composer, Stefan Radetzky (Anton Walbrook), who is also a fighter pilot and patriot defending his doomed country during the Nazi invasion.
Later, having escaped Poland after its collapse, he returns from America to fly for the RAF during the Battle of Britain. It’s all very exciting and, like most movies featuring Walbrook, gloriously romantic. It is Walbrook’s character who composes the Warsaw Concerto. It sounds rather far-fetched, now, but like Casablanca and “As Time Goes By”, Dangerous Moonlight and its music went a long way toward getting American audiences emotionally ready to join the fight against the Axis powers.