Last April the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (HVP) presented one of its most ambitious projects ever, a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, the Resurrection, with augmented orchestra, large chorus and orchestra. This season the HVP opens on October 5 with another Mahler symphony, the Fifth. Music director Randall Craig Fleischer explains, “It was the full emotional and sonic impact that drew me to include more Mahler. We’re really trying to define ourselves and exactly why people come to the symphony. Mahler’s emotive style and the sheer size of his symphonies grab our audience in the gut right out of the gate.”
Many performances of Mahler 5, which lasts well over an hour, occupy an entire concert program. Fleischer decided to add two shorter works. Beethoven’s Egmont Overture is a great opener. But audiences are unfamiliar with the Trombone Concerto of Nino Rota – or, for that matter, with Rota himself. He was best-known for his more than 150 film scores, mostly for Italian films (he was a favorite of Fellini and Visconti) but also for The Godfather. (He also wrote ten operas and many orchestral works.) “We try to feature an HVP musician playing a concerto every couple of years,” says Fleischer. “Brad Ward suggested the Rota Concerto. It’s a beautiful Romantic Era piece and a wonderful showcase. Brad certainly deserves the opportunity.”
Fleischer had a busy summer, conducting in the Czech Republic and in San Diego, Hartford and Youngstown and making pops arrangements. Now he can settle down to his usual schedule of conducting three orchestras: the HVP, Anchorage Symphony and Youngstown Symphony.
Tickets to the HVP’s season opening concert on Sunday, October 5 at 3 p.m. at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House cost $32 to $54. Student rush tickets are available for $20 on the day of the concert only.
Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Sunday, October 5, 3 p.m., $54/$32/$20, Bardavon, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie; (845) 473-2072, www.bardavon.org.