Gioachino Rossini – La gazza ladra Overture
The experience: militant, vigorous, cheerful
Rossini’s La gazza ladra Overture is an excerpt from “The Thieving Magpie” opera. The piece is known for its distinctive and catchy musical themes, contributing to its widespread popularity in commercials, movies, and TV shows. The overture begins with the classic snare drum solo leading into a cheery woodwind entrance.
Ernest Chausson – Poème (feat. Jennifer Frautschi)
The experience: emotional, dramatic, virtuosic
Poème, dedicated to the famous Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, is a significant work in the repertoire of violin concertos. This one-movement piece showcases the violinist’s virtuosity and expressive abilities. Chausson takes us on a ride through the inside of his emotional stability at the time. There is no proper structure, but it ebbs and flows like the natural shift of emotion you experience.
Florence Price – Violin Concerto No. 2 (feat. Jennifer Frautschi)
The experience: expressive, rhythmic, romantic
Little Rock native Florence Price wrote this concerto in 1952, the year before her sudden death. It is a single-movement work that illustrates Price’s unique fusion of European classical traditions with African-American folk elements. The primary theme features rhythmic and harmonic elements from juba dance, and the secondary theme showcases aspects of Price’s style: the orchestra as a duet partner for the soloist; the pairing of strings and brass instruments to create a warm, round sound; and creative ways to bring back the familiar theme.
Ottorino Respighi – Pines of Rome
The experience: lush, majestic, colorful
Pines of Rome is structured into four continuous movements, each representing different settings in Rome, in which pine trees are found. Respighi essentially wrote a love letter to the city of Rome. The work is a testament to his masterful orchestral writing and his ability to paint vivid pictures through music.