Springfield Symphony has return pianist for weekend concert

Conductor and music director Peter Stafford Wilson and The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will turn to the piano and a familiar artist for its second concert of the Off the Charts season on Saturday.

Spencer Myer, who has entertained audiences here twice with his keyboard skills, will take on two concerti by composer Maurice Ravel and some of the most romantic music will be performed at 7:30 p.m. at the Clark State Performing Arts Center. Tickets are still available.

With this appearance, Myer becomes the only pianist to play with the SSO three times during Wilson’s tenure. He’ll play Ravel’s “Concerto in G” and “Concerto for the Left Hand.”

“Each time the audience and orchestra have responded so well to him. He and I ‘click’ musically, which is why I invited him to perform two difficult concerti with us on the same program,” Wilson said. “It will be a luxury for the audience as these popular concerti are often heard separately, but rarely heard together, which are a challenge for pianist and orchestra and a treat for the audience.”

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November is the month for giving thanks, but the SSO is getting romantic for its second concert of the season. Wilson said the romantic era in music history was marked by composers attempting to create music that expressed emotion, passion and drama in grandiose detail.

“Richard Strauss’ epic ‘Der Rosenkavalier’, although a comic opera, is one of the most passionate expressions of love in the repertoire,” he said. “This suite, loosely following the story, sets the most famous melodies from the piece in symphonic form.”

Wilson calls Hector Berlioz one of the architects of the romantic era in music, embracing the idea of programmatic music, or music that tells a specific story. His “Overture, OP 3 H23″ will be the concert opener, what Wilson said this is a gem rarely performed from an uncompleted opera.

Berlioz also was a leader in the development of the art or orchestration, that is, the ability to set a melody in its optimum voice with the instruments of the orchestra. “Judges of the Secret Court” was an opera he never completed, but the overture is a gem that is rarely performed, Wilson said.

The SSO got off to a strong start with an enthusiastic response to the October season opener with celebrated guest violinist Itzhak Perlman. Wilson hopes audiences and music lovers will be eager to explore the range of music and talent it combines.

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“I have been complimented, after our opening performance, that the Orchestra ‘rose to the occasion’ of its celebrated guest,” he said. “The truth is, the Symphony’s artists played at their usual high level of excellence. That swath of the public needs to join us more often to experience the excitement that is the Springfield Symphony, and Saturday night will be a prime opportunity.”

HOW TO GO

What: Springfield Symphony Orchestra with guest pianist Spencer Myer

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19

Admission: $42-68

More info: springfieldsym.org/spencer-myer/

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