September was a fine opening to the 2014-15 classical season, even if it had the occasional off-kilter gait. However, this month's schedule looks even more substantial than the last; is this where the season launches in earnest? More Shostakovich, more Mozart, more Beethoven, some complex offerings from Prokofiev, Bartok and Debussy, along with heavy helpings of Ravel and some tasty film music---all contribute to an October calender that looks thrilling to say the least.
Oct. 2-5: Emanuel Ax Performs Mozart Piano Concerto No. 14 at The Meyerson In one program, the DSO offers us the best of the best--a Mozart concerto and a Shostakovich symphony, each representing one of its composer's finest works. To open the event, highly acclaimed pianist and Grammy-winner Emanuel Ax performs Mozart's gorgeous Piano Concerto No. 14. However, the program is set for a heavier ending, as Shostakovich's rarely-performed Symphony No. 8 takes the closing spot. "A poem of suffering" and "an attempt to reflect the terrible tragedy of war," Shostakovich's Eighth is an intense piece, marked by panicked pacing and feverish strings. Although a semblance of peace is found in its final movement, this is a spine-tingling composition from start to finish. Tickets and more information at mydso.com.
Oct 3-5: Chart-topper Simone Dinnerstein Performs Beethoven's Emperor at Bass Performance Hall. Renowned for her popular recordings (including an especially solid rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations), Simone Dinnerstein has become one of the most recognizable figures in contemporary classical. With a performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, Dinnerstein makes her FWSO debut this month. One of Beethoven's most beloved compostions, Emperor is as grand, sweeping masterwork, at turns vibrant and elegiac. The master wrote the piece amidst Napoleon's besiegement of Vienna. In fact, in the final movement's march-like horns, you can sense the weight of Beethoven's anxiety, the fears he most surely faced when he fled to escape imminent danger. Britten's Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and Ravel's Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and La Valse round out the concert. Tickets and additional information at fwsymphony.org
Oct 5: SMU Meadows presents Bartok, Debussy and Ravel at Caruth Auditorium. In the second installment of Meadows' Faculty Artist and Distinguished Alumni Recital Series, SMU presents decorated concert pianists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, alongside Dallas Symphony percussionists Douglas Howard and Brian Jones. Lutoslawski's Variations on a Theme by Paganini opens the program, followed by Bartok's brilliant, but peculiar, Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. In a fascinating turn, the latter sees the four musicians play seven different instruments (bass drum, timpani, cymbals, triangle, snare drum, gong and xylophone). Next, is Debussy's masterful En blanc et noir ("In Black and White"), which was, in part, composed in memory of his friend Jacques Charlot, a casualty of World War I. Ravel's much-discussed deconstruction of the waltz, La Valse, serves as the concert's closer. Visit meadows.smu.edu for more information.
Oct 8: The Dallas Chamber Symphony Performs a New Score to Hitchcock's The Lodger. In partnership with the Video Association of Dallas, The Dallas Chamber Symphony is set to perform a newly minted musical score (courtesy film composer Douglas Pipes) to Hitchcock's silent film The Lodger. This will be a live-to-film event, with the DCS synchronizing Pipes' new composition to the actions on screen. The DCS is known for these highly entertaining film concerts, having already commissioned and performed six others in the past two years. Word is, they don't disappoint. Also serving as the opening night of VideoFest 27, the event represents a unique opportunity to support both the Dallas' classical community and the Dallas film scene in one fell swoop. With a recently restored version of The Lodger and an award-winning film composer in play, this is one movie night you don't want to miss. More information at dallaschambersymphony.org
Oct 10-12: The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Marvin Hamlisch. Marvin Hamlisch is one of the most decorated musical figures in recent memory. Winner of three Oscars, three Golden Globes, four Emmy's, four Grammy's, a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize, the late conductor/composer wrote over forty film scores alongside his considerable stage work (including Broadway favorite A Chorus Line). With the assistance of conductor Larry Blank and vocalists Jodi Benson, Doug LaBrecque and Donna McKechnie, The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will commemorate Hamlisch's legacy by performing some of his most cherished works. Visit fwsymphony.org for ticket information.
Oct. 24-26: Vadym Kolodenko Performs Prokofiev at Bass Performance Hall In a two-year agreement, The FWSO has teamed up with 2013 Cliburn Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko to present all five of Prokofiev's piano concertos; Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor is first on the agenda. Dedicated to a close friend whom he lost to suicide, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 is a complex and demanding piece, one that requires an unusually high level of skill to play properly, or, in fact, at all (it's said that Prokofiev had great difficulty performing the work himself). Wavering between extremes of despair and optimism, here, the composer melds his inclination for highly technical pianism with a rare depth of emotion, making this one of the most satisfying concertos Prokofiev ever wrote. Verdi's Overture to Nabucco and Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D Major complete the program. Tickets and more information at fwsymphony.org