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Gustavo Gimeno’s Expansive Programming Explored

September 30, 2021

Music Director Gustavo Gimeno loves contrasting styles of music, and, in his surprise FREE live-stream concert  TSO Live Stream: Gimeno’s Homecoming on October 14, he has spanned 250 years of music and fascinating musical and personal perspectives into one evening. By combining these three works in one program, we roam freely over decades of musical history and styles, written by extraordinarily different talents living in remarkable times.

Bologne: Symphony in D Major

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was the son of a French planter and parliamentary councillor and his wife's 16-year-old African slave. His mixed-race status resulted in many obstacles even as he defied social, cultural and political norms of the time and made his way into high—even royal—society of pre-Revolutionary France. A champion fencer, horseman and soldier, his prodigious musical talent was discovered early in his life and he also became known as a superlative violinist and composer. Although Bologne’s focus on composition lasted less than 10 years, we are lucky that several of those pieces have survived, and we are able to experience the music of 1770’s France written by a man who was one of the most celebrated composers of his age.

Dett/arr. Kulesha: "His Song" from In the Bottoms

Nathaniel Dett is widely renowned as a trailblazing musician and composer. Born and raised in Drummondville, Ontario (now Niagara Falls), Dett began piano at the age of five. Early on in his musical studies he was influenced by Black folk songs and spirituals and was the first and most significant American–Canadian composer to fuse that music with that of the European music tradition. As a composer, organist, pianist, choral director, and music professor Dett’s influence was widely felt throughout his life and continues today. This program’s piece, “His Song” is one of five movements in his most popular piano suite, 1913’s In the Bottoms, which has been arranged for string orchestra by TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha.

Brahms: Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11

An early work by one of classical music’s “Three B’s”, Johannes Brahms (Bach and Beethoven round out the Three), Serenade No. 1 was composed in 1858. Although only 25 years old, Brahms’s reputation was already secured in music circles for his chamber music, and he had the admiration of other composers, notably Robert and Clara Schumann. Serenade No. 1 was one of two that Brahms wrote as early efforts to compose symphonic music, and the piece was a huge success at its premiere in 1859. Of course, his reputation grew as his career proceeded, but with this Serenade we hear a young Brahms full of musical promise.

Sign up to watch the FREE TSO Live Stream: Gimeno's Homecoming. Available October 14—21, 2021.

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