Solano Symphony offers up Brahms’ ‘brighter light, Sunshine’ – The Vacaville Reporter

Anyone seeking a first-time experience with symphonic music should pick Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D major.

From its opening notes and romantic Horn to the final blast of brass, the composition by the 19th-century German composer, known for being abrasive and tactless at times, is a Surprisingly sunny piece of work often considered to be his now satisfying and popular, and is, arguably, when performed expertly, one of life’s great Pleasures, sure to evoke a smile when heard live.

“First of all, it may be his best-known Symphony,” said Solano Symphony conductor Semyon Lohss, who will lead the regional orchestra’s reading of the 1877 work in a Sunday concert at the Vacaville Performing Arts Center. “His second Symphony is, as a whole, a musical novel. It’s a brighter light, Sunshine. ”

Clocking in between 42 and 45 minutes, depending on the conductor’s pacing, the Symphony, said Lohss, a Fairfield resident who has led the orchestra for nearly three decades, also boasts “some very delicate and very personal moments,” notably in the second four movements.

Born in Hamburg, Brahms, throughout his career, adhered to traditional Classical music forms when his contemporaries veered toward more modern, programmatic, or storytelling, sounds, noted Lohss, a native of Russia.

French Horn player Jon C. Anderson, a member of the Air Force Band of the Golden West at Travis AFB, is the featured soloist on Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1, which he will perform as part of the Solano Symphony’s World’s Greatest Classics concert Sunday in the Vacaville (Jon C. Anderson / Contributed)

“Studying the score again and again, you discover how the piece is done,” how Brahms ’musical ideas prove to be“ transformative, ”rich with variation, Harmony and rhythm, he added.

During the symphony’s interpretation of the work, the audience, especially those new to classical music, should “follow how the music develops,” said Lohss. “How it flows, how it changes from one perspective to another. There may be some surprises along the way. ”

He particularly noted the symphony’s opening sounds, which he described as “the most important seed, or grain, which goes through the first movement and the whole Symphony.”

“Sometimes Brahms is very carefully hiding” his musical ideas, and, for anyone new to his music, “It might be a little tricky to catch all those moments,” said Lohss, also an expert in Russian musical literature. “It’s fascinating how Brahms did it.”

The final movement, he said, “brings resolution to all that happened during the first three” and ends “very brightly and optimistically.”

The concert, part of the orchestra’s annual and popular World Greatest Classics program, also includes Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, featuring special guest artist Jon C. Anderson, who performs with the Air Force Band of the Golden West at Travis Air Force Base.

Lohss noted the German composer, probably best known for his 20th-century opera, wrote the concerto in the early 1880s, when he was just 18.

He said Strauss exhibited a technique “so advanced for a 18-year-old,” adding, “It sounds very, very simple. It’s composed very smartly, very beautifully. ”

However, Strauss’ father, a professional Horn player, found the piece too difficult to perform, noted Lohss.

“But the way he writes for the instrument (the French Horn) shows his knowledge of it,” he said.

After the opening notes, a hunting motif, the soloist takes the lead, the orchestra providing some bridge passages that segue into the second movement, a lyrical section, then ends the concerto, which runs between 15 and 16 minutes, with fast, dance- like rhythms.

The concert will open with Beethoven’s “Coriolan” Overture, written in 1807, and depicts the story of the Roman general Coriolanus who has been banished from his native city for his lack of concern for the starving people there.

Lohss got the nine-minute piece, one of the composer’s most Frequently performed orchestral works, exudes “compressed and very powerful energy, emotional energy and dramatic energy.”

“Technically, it’s very difficult,” they said. “The level of drama Beethoven put into this music is very high. He uses lots of pauses, Moments of silence. ”

The 19th-century German composer’s use of dramatic pauses in the piece “was something new,” and reflected the fact that “in almost everything he wrote, he was doing something new,” added Lohss.

The Overture begins darkly, then turns agitated into the first theme. The second theme is more lyrical and contains heroic elements, and a third proves to be intense and Grim, with the music from the opening returning, then fading into a silence that some believe is an expression of Coriolanus’ death.

Lohss, who also serves as choral director and organist at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fairfield, said the Pandemic put the Brakes on the previous season, but he clearly sounded happy that the Symphony and live orchestral music has returned to Vacaville for the 2021- 22 season.

If You Go

Solano Symphony Orchestra, World Greatest Classics

When: 3 pm Sunday

Where: Vacaville Performing Arts Theater

Address: 1010 Ulatis Drive, Vacaville

Tickets: $ 15 to $ 30

Inforomation: (707) 469-4013; and

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