Chee-Yun headlines Strings’ orchestral opener
Steamboat Springs — If you enjoyed the 1998 film “The Red Violin,” you might discover an unexpected layer of intrigue in the Saturday opening night orchestra performance of the 2016 Strings Music Festival, marking its 29th season.
Opening night at the Strings Pavilion features world-renowned violinist Chee-Yun performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on an instrument with a history that could inspire a motion picture. And on opening night, the orchestra will be studded with concert masters and principle players. Among other pieces Saturday night, the orchestra will also perform Mozart’s popular overture to the comic opera, “The Marriage of Figaro.”
“I’m very excited about our opening concert, which has a nice variety of music,” Strings Musical Director Michael Sachs, back for his second season, said in an e-mail. “The Overture is typically upbeat Mozart at the height of his powers, with playful interludes by winds in dialog with strings throughout.
“The Mendelssohn Concerto is a wonderful classical showpiece for violin where we really get to hear all techniques and styles that the instrument can offer in the most virtuosic manner. Chee-Yun is a very charismatic musician with abilities to access a depth of expression that is perfect for this work.”
As of midday June 23, there were seats for the performance available beginning at $58.
Chee-Yun, who performs regularly with the world’s most foremost orchestras including those in Philadelphia, London, Toronto, Houston, Seattle and Pittsburgh, performs on a 347-year-old Italian violin she purchased in 1991.
“I immediately fell in love with the singing quality of its sound,” she told Fox 5 news in Washington D.C.
The film, “The Red Violin,” chronicles the history of a violin made in 17th century Italy that embarks on a journey through time, finding its way to an Austrian monastery, 19th century England, China during the Cultural Revolution and ultimately to Montreal, with much intrigue along the way.
The instrument in the Red Violin has nothing on Chee-Yun’s violin.
It was during a concert in Israel, that another musician, with knowledge of the instrument, informed Chee-Yun that one of the prior owners loved her violin so much his dying request was that he be buried with the violin. Hence, Chee-Yun’s violin, which has since undergone repairs, spent 200 years of its life buried in Norway.
The second portion of Saturday night’s opening night orchestral performance includes two pieces that have a shared heritage – Pergolesi’s Concertino for Strings, and Stravinsky’s Suite from Pulcinella.
“In Pulcinella, Stravinsky weaves melodies from Pergolesi, an early 18th century baroque Italian composer, creating a charming piece that sounds like it could belong in either a baroque or modern setting,” Sachs said. “While this particular Pergolesi Concertino wasn’t adapted within Pulcinella, it will give the audience a sense of the original materials Stravinsky used for his suite.”
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