Omaha Symphony plays “Korngold Violin Concerto”

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September 26th, 2014

Omaha, NE – The Omaha Symphony kicks off its new Masterworks season with a bang, a concert featuring Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4” conducted by Music Director Thomas Wilkins.

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The soloist for this performance is the Symphony’s own Concertmaster, Susanna Perry Gilmore. She will perform the “Violin Concerto” of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, a composer Gilmore says more people are familiar with than they realize.

“He came over here in the early 30’s and was brought to Hollywood and is really one of the founding fathers of Hollywood film music,” Gilmore said.

This career shift, at the time, actually hurt his professional reputation.

“What happened was he became pigeonholed as ‘the movie composer’ and not treated seriously, and that was very hard on him,” Gilmore said. “I mean, he was an incredible child prodigy, Mahler praised him…and then he got derailed by political events, and so when the war was over, he vowed not to do any more film.”

Susanna Perry Gilmore (Photo Courtesy Omaha Symphony)

Susanna Perry Gilmore (Photo Courtesy Omaha Symphony)

Gilmore says that Korngold decided to use music from his films in his serious works, starting with the “Violin Concerto.”

“The very first melody you hear, from the second the piece begins, is the theme from ‘Another Dawn’ from 1937,” Gilmore said. “And then, you can hear how he took that very bold and bombastic material from the movie, and he kept the exact same melody but he’s now transformed it into something with a very different mood. The clarinet melody that opens the second movement is from ‘Anthony Adverse’ from 1936, and the big melodic second theme from the third movement is from ‘The Prince and the Pauper’.”

Gilmore says the concerto is not just challenging and rewarding for herself, but for her colleagues in the orchestra.

“It’s very contrapuntal, so throughout there are very important melodic and rhythmic material from the orchestra concurrent to the soloist, so it’s a nice, meaty project for everybody to dig into,” Gilmore said.

The Omaha Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4” and Korngold’s “Violin Concerto on Friday and Saturday, September 26 and 27. Both performances are in the Holland Performing Arts Center and begin at 7:30 pm. For tickets and more information, call (402) 345-0606 or visit online, omahasymphony.org.

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