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Verdi, Brahms, Elgar & Half Dome

Three musical masterpieces. Two remarkable guest artists. One unforgettable experience.

MARIPOSA – The Mariposa County Arts Council proudly presents the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra in concert twice – Saturday, Apr. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Fiester Auditorium of Mariposa County High School, and as a free matinee concert in the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 28.

The MSO’s annual Ahwahnee Hotel performance has become one of the orchestra’s most eagerly-anticipated events since its institution several years ago and seating is offered first-come, first-served.Guiseppe Verdi

Both concerts will open with the overture to Giuseppe Verdi’s 1862 opera “La Forza del Destino” (The Force of Destiny). One of Verdi’s greatest orchestral showpieces, the MSO’s Founding Music Director/Conductor Les Marsden has programmed this overture as the music world celebrates the bicentennial of Verdi’s 1813 birth.

Dramatic, tune-filled and immediately recognizable to even the casual listener, the piece offers a great opportunity for the Yosemite region’s own symphony orchestra to show its own skills, while honoring those of Verdi.

The orchestra will then be joined by distinguished guest soloists Ann Miller on violin and Ira Lehn on cello, who are featured in a landmark of the concerto repertoire: Johannes Brahms’ Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in a minor, op. 102, much more familiarly known as his “Double” Concerto.

MSO audiences will well remember Mr. Lehn’s unforgettable performances with the MSO two years ago in Dvořák’s cello concerto, in the Ahwahnee and Mariposa, and virtuoso Ann Miller is Professor of Violin at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Johannes BrahamsThe Brahms “Double” Concerto was that composer’s final orchestral work and is the summation of Brahms’ art – long recognized as the greatest composition of its kind – by any composer.

The final work on the program is the 1899 “Variations on an Original Theme for Orchestra: (Enigma)” by Edward (later, Sir Edward) Elgar. A composition like no other, this single work overnight was to establish the virtually-unknown Elgar as England’s finest composer, and in fact, the greatest composer that nation had produced in two centuries.

Edward ElgarConsisting of an original melody which Elgar then works into 14 variations, each variation represents an aspect of some importance to 12 of the composer’s friends, his wife and ultimately, himself.

The “enigma,” incidentally, has never been solved. Elgar left many overt clues and doubtless had a great laugh over the attempts made in his lifetime to uncover the riddle at the heart of the piece. But he took that secret to his grave in 1934 and it remains one of the great mysteries of music to this day.

Fully-detailed program notes are available on the MSO’s webpages at the Mariposa County Arts Council’s all-new website, http://www.mariposaartscouncil.org/mariposa-symphony-orchestra, so audience members may read in advance all about these works and their composers in depth.

Tickets for the Saturday, Apr. 27 concert in Mariposa are $6 for adults/$4 for students, and may be purchased from the Mariposa County Arts Council (209) 966-3155. Tickets are also available at the Mariposa County Visitors Center, across from Miners Roadhouse. Call for hours (209) 966-7081.

The Sunday, Apr. 28 concert as a 2 p.m. matinee in the Ahwahnee Hotel, is free of charge on a first-come basis. All past MSO concerts in the Ahwahnee have been filled to capacity and are presented in partnership with the generous cooperation of the National Park Service, Yosemite National Park and Superintendent Don Neubacher, Delaware North Parks and Resorts at Yosemite and the Ahwahnee Hotel and General Manager Brett Archer.

Send an e-mail to MSO@sti.net and ask to be added to their low-volume, always-private “Friends of the MSO” e-mail notification list.

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