Set your mood for Valentine’s Day with the “Passion & Drama” of our annual February concert celebrating the holiday of romance. This year’s performance, on Feb. 10, 2018, features three stirring pieces that will tug at your heart: Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings; Josef Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major; and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique.”
A quartet of principal symphony musicians will perform as soloists for the Haydn work: Anita Fetsch Felix, violin; Alexandra Roedder, cello; Curtis Kidwell, oboe; and Jill Dowlat, bassoon.
Even if you aren’t aware, you’ve almost certainly heard Adagio for Strings – it’s that beloved and that widely performed. Barber composed the piece in 1936 when he was 26; Arturo Toscanini conducted the premier performance in Rockefeller Center two years later. Although the composer seemed to be at one of the happiest points in his life, the music seems to evoke melancholy. At least one reviewer called it “the saddest music ever written.” Another claimed it was “full of pathos and cathartic passion” that “rarely leaves a dry eye.”
The list of public performances for this piece is long and includes accompanying the announcements of both Franklin D. Roosevelt’s and John F. Kennedy’s deaths and the death of Princess Diana; the funerals of Albert Einstein and Princess Grace of Monaco; a version by Peter, Paul and Mary; many film and game soundtracks, including Top Gear, Platoon, a Seinfeld episode, and The Crow.
Haydn composed his Sinfonia Concertante in London in 1792 for a solo group comprising violin, cello, oboe and bassoon. It premiered in 1792 to immediate success. One reviewer characterized it as “profound, airy, affecting and original.” In a career that produced more than 100 symphonies and 68 string quartets, this piece is his only sinfonia concertante, which is a concerto with more than one soloist. For this piece, a quartet of our principal string musicians fill the solo role.
Violinist Anita Fetsch Felix has served Folsom Lake Symphony as concertmaster for nine years. She is also a member of the Sacramento Philharmonic and performs regularly with the orchestras of the Sacramento Opera, Sacramento Choral Society and Sacramento Ballet and as a member of trio ensembles and a duo with pianist Miles Graber. She coaches the Sacramento Youth Symphony and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.
Principal cello Roedder has performed across Europe, and in California played with Musica Angelica, Sacramento Baroque Soloists and the American Bach Soloists Festival Orchestra. With her husband, she runs the Sierra Nevada Historical Performance, which brings “real old-timey music” to small venues. She is a founding member of the baroque group La Muse Amusee.
Principal oboe Kidwell has performed at nearly every prestigious music festival in the U.S. and Europe, including: Aspen, Tanglewood, Taos, Marrowstone and Bowdoin, where he served as teaching faculty. He was a winner of the Fischoff Chamber Music, Carmel Chamber Society and Colmann Chamber competitions. Mr. Kidwell is also principal oboe for the Auburn, Vallejo and Camellia symphonies and plays English horn for the Santa Rosa Symphony. He performs with the Capitol Chamber Players, Tres Musicos trio and the Sacramento Philharmonic “Wolfgang” wind quintet.
Principal bassoon Dowlat has played with various orchestras, including Nacogdoches Orchestra and Wichita Falls Symphony, as well as chamber groups such as woodwind quintets and bassoon quartets. She played with the Berkeley Opera Orchestra, then moved to Sutter Creek where, in addition to the Folsom Lake Symphony, she plays with the Motherlode Friends of Music Orchestra.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathetique, is the composer’s final completed symphony, written in 1893. Tchaikovsky chose the alternate title from a Russian word for “passionate” or “emotional,” but it has since been mistranslated to evoke pity. The piece premiered in St. Petersburg just nine days before the composer’s death in 1893. Musicologists suggest the symphony deals with the power of fate in life and death. The music is the basis for popular songs from the 1940s-1960s and was featured in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Moscow.
“Passion & Drama” will be performed February 10, 2018, at the Harris Center for the Arts on the Folsom Lake College campus, 10 College Parkway, Folsom. You can buy tickets online, from the theater ticket office or by calling 916-608-6718.