The New Britain Symphony Orchestra will conclude its 2017-2018 season with Hungarian Legends, a concert celebrating the great composers , stories, and traditional folk music of one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in Europe. The program will include Mazeppa by Franz Liszt, Summer Evening by Zoltán Kodály, and Concerto for Orchestra by Béla Bartók.
Mazeppa, a symphonic poem written in 1851, tells the story of Ivan Mazepa who, having seduced a Polish noblewoman, was tied to a wild horse which carried him to the Ukraine, where he was rescued by Cossacks and later made leader or hetman. The piece follows the story as told in Victor Hugo’s Les Orientales, depicting the hero’s ride through the steppes, fall from his horse, and eventual rescue and rise to glory. Franz Liszt was the first composer to title his work “symphonic poem”, and Mazeppa is one of his most famous and evocative examples of this orchestral form.
Summer Evening, a student piece written by Zoltán Kodály in 1906, was revised in 1929 at the suggestion of Arturo Toscanini, to whom it was dedicated. It is an “idyll for chamber orchestra”, with no percussion or brass except for horns playing with the woodwind section. Kodály wrote that it was “conceived on summer evenings, amid harvested cornfields, by the ripples of the Adriatic;” the melodic, pastoral piece reflects Kodály’s love of his country and of its traditional music..
Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, composed in 1943, is one of his best known and most popular works. The five part composition, based on traditional Hungarian folk tunes, was commissioned by Serge Koussevitsky after Bartók moved to the United States in 1940 . Throughout his career, Bartók strove to incorporate folk music into his compositions, and the Concerto for Orchestra was his first major work after the start of WWII, his final completed piece, and a lasting testament to his love for his native country.
Hungarian Legends will be performed on 3 pm on Sunday, May 6, 2018 at Welte Auditorium, CCSU. Tickets are $20 ( free for students) and may be purchased online,
by phone at 860 826-6344, or at the door.