The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra will perform their latest concert on Nov. 9 and 11 at the Dana Auditorium on Guilford College’s campus. The concert will include various works and is set to present pianist Nikita Mndoyants.
The first of Brahms’s piano concertos is the highlight of the program, as it will feature guest artist Nikita Mndoyants. First Prize Winner of the 2016 Cleveland Piano Competition, Mndoyants is a young, but an extremely talented pianist.
Born in Russia, Mndoyants began both performing and composing at a young age. Coming from a family of professional musicians, he gave his first recital at the age of eight. He is well established as both a pianist and a composer, and he has performed extensively internationally.
Grand and beautiful, Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is the perfect piece to showcase both the talents of Mndoyants and of the Greensboro Symphony.
The first movement, marked Maestoso, opens loudly and boldly. It is long and expansive, lasting over 20 minutes, and it weaves loud outbursts with a quiet and understated solo piano theme. Throughout the movement, the piano builds in confidence and intensity, eventually meeting the orchestra in volume and passion.
The Adagio second movement is gentle, serving as a stark contrast to where the first movement ends. Pianist and composer Clara Schumann, who served as Brahms’s muse for the movement, noted that the movement had a “spiritual” quality. With its quiet melodies and this quality, this Adagio sounds like it is a world away.
The piano alone begins the final movement, a bright and vigorous Rondo. The finale is full of complicated rhythms and difficult passages that are sure to highlight Mndoyant’s virtuosity.
Following the Brahms is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Composed in 1812, Beethoven noted it as one of his best works.
The symphony opens with a long, expansive section that is full of scales and interesting harmonies. It transitions into a quick Vivace section, which is dance-like and full of energy. The first movement ends with a coda section that is famous for its repetitive nature, driving the same two-measure idea over and over again until it pushes to the ending.
The second movement, Allegretto, is extremely famous. It was instantly popular, so much so that the premiere audience demanded its encore at the end of the night.
The Allegretto focuses on the string sections, with parts accented by wind instruments. This movement is sure to highlight the skill and musicality of the Greensboro Symphony’s string players, which include many members of the School of Music’s faculty. The melody is beautiful and gentle, building and growing in instrumentation and complexity as the movement continues and flows to the end.
Next, comes a scherzo, which is based on an Austrian pilgrims’ hymn. In keeping with the nature of a scherzo, which literally translates to “a joke,” Beethoven implements moments of humor and innovation. He manipulates the typical rhythms of the melodies, includes random horn interjections. He also gets creative at the end, in which he suggests a third iteration of the trio section, only to fall quickly into the final notes of the movement.
The final movement is aggressive and has a nearly violent energy. With boisterous melodies and musical whirlwind figures, the melodies and rhythms are extremely complex and exciting to listen to. Beethoven pushes the boundaries of the string players’ abilities, including dramatic dynamic markings and growing in complexity all the way to the final culmination of the symphony.
From Brahms to Beethoven, the program for next week’s concerts promises to be as entertaining as it will be impressive. Guest artist Nikita Mndoyants is sure to give a musical performance that is not to be missed.
For more information about tickets and the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season, check out their website.