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Baylor Symphony Orchestra Presents Two Austrian Masterpieces

March 7, 2017

The Baylor Symphony Orchestra will perform symphonies by Haydn and Mahler on Tuesday, March 21, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Concert Hall, located within the Glennis McCrary Music Building. This 87-member orchestra is led by Stephen Heyde, Baylor University’s Conductor-in-Residence and Director of Orchestral Activities.

Franz Joseph Haydn was appointed Kapellmeister of the Esterházy Court by Prince Nikolaus in 1766. Eight years later, Haydn was asked to supply incidental music for a French farce entitled Le Distrait, for a presentation at the Court by a visiting theatrical group, and he dutifully composed an overture, four entr’actes, and a finale for the five-act play. Ever resourceful, Haydn then cobbled them together into a six-movement “symphony” that retains the spirit and playfulness of the original play, with humorous touches like wrong harmonies, parallel voice leadings, and comically vapid melodies. This Haydn work, Symphony No. 60 in C major (“Il Distratto”), will be led at Baylor by guest conductor Kory Katseanes, Director of Orchestras at the Brigham Young University School of Music and president of the College Orchestra Directors Association.

Gustav Mahler wrote his Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor between the summers of 1901 and 1902. Indeed, he called himself a “summer composer,” compressing a year’s pent-up musical work into the one holiday he enjoyed as a professional conductor. He wrote night and day, and several projects took shape in his head at once. In June of 1901, he settled in a villa at Maiernigg on the Wörthersee, where he wrote four of the Rückert Songs, three of the Kindertotenlieder, and began work on his Fifth Symphony. The symphony’s world premiere took place in Cologne on October 18, 1904, with the composer conducting. Most famous among the work’s five movements is the stirring and popular “Adagietto,” which has established for itself a separate identity as an independent concert piece.

This concert is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, call the Baylor University School of Music at 254-710-3991.