PCO performs Ippolotov-Ivanov’s “Procession of the Sardar”, Holst’s “Jupiter Op. 32”, Borodin’s “In the Steppes of Central Asia” and “Polovetsyan March” as well as Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 3” with Young Artist Competition Winner, Max Hammond, under the baton of Music Director Beth Pflueger.
Holst’s “Jupiter Op. 32” is part of a seven-movement symphonic suite written between 1914 and 1916. The folk-infused “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity” boasts a central hymn-like passage so hummable that Holst later set the tune to Cecil Spring-Rice’s poem “I Vow to Thee My Country,” creating an instant English anthem. Describing the movement as a whole, Holst wrote, “Jupiter brings jollity in the ordinary sense, and also in the more ceremonial type of rejoicing associated with religions or national festivities.”
Borodin provided the following description on the score of “In the Steppes of Central Asia”: “In the silence of the monotonous steppes of Central Asia is heard the unfamiliar sound of a peaceful Russian song. From the distance we hear the approach of horses and camels and the bizarre and melancholy notes of an oriental melody. A caravan approaches, escorted by Russian soldiers, and continues safely on its way through the immense desert. It disappears slowly. The notes of the Russian and Asiatic melodies join in a common harmony, which dies away as the caravan disappears in the distance.” The “Polovetsyan March” depicts an exotic scene at the end of Borodin’s “Prince Igor” opera. The theme often appears in movie sound tracks, anime, video games and has been adapted/remixed by various artists in modern music.
Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major” was completed in 1921 in Paris. It is characterized by its variety, underlined by sudden jumps from one mood to another. Prokofiev provided his own program notes for the work: “The first movement opens quietly with a short introduction (Andante). In resuming the Allegro, the chief theme and the second subject are developed with increased brilliance, and the movement ends with an exciting crescendo. The second movement consists of a theme with five variations. It leads without pause into a restatement of the theme by the orchestra, with delicate chordal embroidery in the piano. The finale begins with a staccato theme for bassoons and pizzicato strings, which is interrupted by the blustering entry of the piano.” Today the piece is considered to be one of the most popular piano concertos of the entire twentieth century.
Young Artist Competition
Each year since 1987, the Pasadena Community Orchestra holds a competition to identify, assist and feature talented young musicians in the furtherance of their musical career and education. This project is funded (in part) by a grant from City of Pasadena, Arts & Culture Commission.
Max Hammond, 17, has been in the winners circle of many piano competitions, with top finishes that include 1st place awards in the Lansum International Piano Competition, the State Finals of the CAPMT Honors Competition (twice), the Glendale Piano Competition, the Los Angeles Young Pianist Competition, the CAPMT District III Sonata Competition (twice), the Turner Concerto Competition and the Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF) Young Pianist Competition. Max has performed as concerto soloist with the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra, with the SYMF Orchestra and with the Bellflower Symphony. Last spring, Max performed the complete Schumann Piano Concerto in concert, and the previous spring the complete Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninov in concert, both times as the youngest competitor to reach the finals of the Young Artists Competition of the Peninsula Symphony. Max has been a recipient of the Mary Lynn Moyer scholarship of the Westside Committee of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and is currently a student in the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences. He has studied piano privately with Anders Martinson since 2014, following earlier studies with Sylvia Chauls and Wayne Behlendorf, and shares in the Martinson studio “Concert and Conversation” program for local convalescent homes.”
WHERE: In the sanctuary of First Church of the Nazarene, 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107 (just west of Michillinda Avenue). Ample free parking, wheelchair accessible.
WHEN: Friday, May 11th, 2018, 8:00 p.m.