Its always special when Music in the Mountains rolls out the full festival orchestra each year, and this weekend the music will match the moment.
Weve got some very big works, lots of brass, lots of everything. Its going to be fun, said Maestro Guillermo Figueroa on Thursday while preparing for that evenings chamber concert, in which he performed.
For Saturdays Elegance and Excitement! and Sundays Tour de Force programs, Figueroa will be back on the other side of the conductors podium leading the largest Music in the Mountains orchestra in several seasons.
Its the complete full symphony and not cut down for the first week as weve done in the past, he said.
Saturday will be even more special for festival fans as the featured soloist will be Music in the Mountains artistic director, Greg Hustis. Hell be in the spotlight for Mozarts Horn Concerto No. 4, which will be second on the program after Schuberts Overture to Rosamunde.
Im excited for Greg and this, the most beautiful of the four (horn concertos), Figueroa said. People think these are lighter and not so important, but thats not the case with this work. Its an amazing piece with absolute perfection of form and beauty of melodies. Its just absolutely brilliant.
The second half of Elegance and Excitement! comes direct from France with a couple of time-traveling pieces. Darius Milhauds Le boeuf sur le toit (the ox on the roof) is as whimsical as its title suggests, and it originally was intended to be the score for one of Charlie Chaplins silent films. Capping the night will be Camille Saint-Saens familiar Danse Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila.
The way the program was structured, we needed something relatively short to end the program in a big way, but not a long piece, Figueroa said. Its a phenomenal collection of Brazilian dance tunes, very Latin, very danceable, great fun, and people are going to be very, very amused with this one.
The orchestra members will have to rest up quickly to prepare for Sundays Tour de Force. The first half will be Beethovens Symphony No. 2 in its entirety. Figueroa described the Second as a transitional composition for Beethoven, and its not heard as often as some of its more famous brethren.
Its one of my favorites and one of his happiest and most uplifting not like the dramatic Fifth or monumental Ninth, Figueroa said.
Violin soloist Dmitri Berlinsky will lead the orchestra out of intermission with Felix Mendelssohns Violin Concerto in E minor. Berlinsky is a Russian-born global star and has played chamber music with Music in the Mountains and taught for the conservatory, but this will be his first solo opportunity with the festival orchestra. Among his awards are the Paganin competition (Italy), Queen Elizabeth Music Competition (Belgium), International Tchaikovsky Competition (Russia) and the Montreal International Violin Competition.
Concluding the Tour de Force will be Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol, another upbeat finale with Latin flair and lots of percussion.
Anyone looking to catch a weekend performance during this years festival would be well-served to choose either or both of these early concerts.