Winter Soundscaping with the Erie Philharmonic

Categories:  Events    Music
Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 at 11:00 AM
Winter Soundscaping with the Erie Philharmonic by Matt Swanseger
Soyeon Kate Lee

Saturday, Jan. 21

It’s never too early to start landscaping – at least if the late composers Bedřich Smetana, Béla Bartók, and Jean Sibelius had anything to say about it.

However, unless you are possessed of a sizable chunk of European landmass and several geological epochs, it would be impractical to replicate landscape of their scale in your own backyard. Luckily, through miracles of musical ambition and ingenuity, the Erie Philharmonic has condensed the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Finland into a tidy 90-minute program. And with tickets priced at just $20, you’ll spend less money per country than on a bag of mulch.

The Erie Philharmonic has condensed the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Finland into a tidy 90-minute program.

The program begins with Smetana’s famous tone poem “The Moldau,” excerpted from Má vlast (My Country). It is a sonic interpretation of the River Moldau, trickling, rushing, and cascading through miles of Bohemian countryside. Frolicsome flutes evoke the lush forests, while ominous brass tones bring to mind sundering, choppy waters.

Next on the itinerary is Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring special guest pianist Soyeon Kate Lee. Astute ornithologists will hear the native birdcalls of Asheville, North Carolina (Bartok’s adopted home) cleverly transposed to instruments, interposed with melodies and rhythms of Hungarian folk music (i.e, Bartok’s homeland).

After the intermission, the program concludes with Sibelius’s sprawling and panoramic Symphony No. 2, an ode to his native Finland. The score reflects the irregularities of the Finnish geography, including geysers, ice formations, and lakes and islands numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The result is a work of mysterious beauty and majesty for a country literally rising out of the sea.

If Finland can crawl out from under its glacier(s), you can surely crawl out from under yours for this one-of-kind symphonic event. – Matt Swanseger

8 p.m. // 811 State St. // eriephil.org/january // prices range from $20 to $5

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