WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 2023
6:30 pm Pre-Concert Discussion
7:30 pm Concert
WHERE: Ritsche Auditorium
Stewart Hall, St. Cloud State University
Rainbow Body | Christopher Theofanidis
Violin Concerto No. 1 | Sergei Prokofiev
Isaac Jeffrey Kay, violin
Symphony No. 3 in C minor | Florence Price
Tickets for this concert are
$25 | Adults
$20 | Seniors (65 and over)
$5 | Students
Tickets available online or at the door.
All tickets are General Admission
SAVE MONEY by purchasing season tickets to your St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra.
Season tickets pricing is only available using the mail-in form. Enjoy 4 concerts for the price of 3. Please print, complete, and mail the 2023-2024 Season Ticket Form with your payment.
Isaac Jeffrey Kay
Mr. Kay is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, Westmont College, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory College. He has performed throughout Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, and extensively in the U.S. As a concerto soloist, Mr. Kay performed at The Music Academy of The West’s Hahn Hall, Vienna’s Das MuTh Hall, and with the Roanoque Baroque Ensemble (Roanoke, Virginia) performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in early 2023.
In addition to maintaining a private studio in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Mr. Kay currently serves on the faculty at Westmont College. He performs on a 1765 Johannes Helmer instrument on a generous loan from the Riesenfeld family of Santa Barbara. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Theofanidis: Rainbow Body
American composer Christopher Theofanidis has garnered significant recognition both at home and abroad. One of his most widely celebrated works is Rainbow Body, an orchestral composition he wrote in 2000, commissioned by The Houston Symphony. This widespread appeal can be attributed to Theofanidis’ musical language, which skillfully blends striking orchestral effects with well-defined melodic contours. In discussing the genesis of Rainbow Body, Theofanidis points to his “fascination with Hildegard of Bingen’s music…and the Tibetan Buddhist idea of ‘Rainbow Body,’ which is that when the enlightened being dies physically, his or her body is absorbed directly back into the universe as energy, as light.”
Theofanidis elaborates, “Rainbow Body begins in an understated, mysterious manner, calling attention to some of the key intervals and motives of the piece. When the primary melody enters for the first time about a minute into the work, I present it very directly in the strings without accompaniment. In the orchestration, I try to capture a halo around this melody, creating a wet acoustic by emphasizing the lingering reverberations one might hear in an old cathedral. Although the piece is built essentially around fragments of the melody, I also return to the tune in its entirety several times throughout the work, as a kind of plateau of stability and peace within an otherwise turbulent environment. Rainbow Body has a very different sensibility from the Hildegard chant, with a structure that is dramatic and developmental, but I hope that it conveys at least a little of my love for the beauty and grace of her work.”
Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major
Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 was first performed in 1923 by violinist Marcel Darrieux and the Paris Opera Orchestra under the baton of Serge Koussevitzky. A close contemporary of Shostakovich, Prokofiev’s music is remarkably characterful, ranging from classical-esque and romantic to boldly modern, often a result of employing extended instrumental techniques. In this concerto, Prokofiev underscores this virtuosity through the extraordinary abilities demanded of the soloist.
The concerto is structured in three movements. In the first movement, Andantino, Prokofiev forgoes an introduction. Immediately, the solo violin presents the principal theme over a soft viola tremolo. The violin’s melody is instructed to be played as if sognando (dreaming). As the movement progresses the music becomes more and more passionate, leading to a brief cadenza that slows the pace back to the opening tempo. In the movement’s final moments, the flute, accompanied by a flurry of notes from the solo violin, recalls the principal theme one last time. The second movement, Scherzo, is a tour-de-force of agility and athleticism as a brisk recurring theme explores the violin’s full range. Hints of Prokofiev’s sardonic side emerge when the violinist plays sul ponticello (on the bridge) or glissandos (slides) on their fingerboard. The overall pace of the movement is feverish. The hypnotic third movement, Moderato, proceeds like a march. Its somber pace and frequent harmonic changes help create a dream-like ambiance, over which the violin sings an expansive melody. To create a cyclic structure to the whole concerto, Prokofiev revisits the musical passage that concluded the first movement, now with the soloist and first violins playing the principal theme. Like in the first movement, a lone flute meanders on a scale and the music fades into silence.
Florence Price: Symphony No. 3 in C minor
Florence Price is one of America’s recently rediscovered composers. Born in 1887 in Little Rock, Arkansas, she studied at the New England Conservatory, which was then one of the few music schools that accepted students of color. Despite writing in a European classical style, Price lived through a critical period when American classical music was being defined. With encouragement from her mentor, George Whitefield Chadwick, she began to incorporate African-American folk tunes, rhythms, melodies, and harmonies into her music. She saw her first break in 1933 when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her first symphony, making her first the African-American woman symphonist to be performed by a major orchestra. Unfortunately, her social status prevented her from receiving the broader recognition she deserved. After her passing in 1953 (the same year as Prokofiev’s), much of her music was thought to be lost. Fast-forward to 2009, a large collection of manuscripts was discovered in an abandoned home near St. Anne, Illinois. Many of her works have now been archived and published, providing access for orchestras to revive her music and champion her legacy.
Her third symphony, written in 1938, encompasses a wide spectrum of emotion. Of its four movements, the first bears the most weight. Its focus on the minor mode, alongside a tempestuous and passionate character, sets the overall temperament of the symphony. The second movement highlights Price’s gift for lyrical writing and is introspective and pastoral in mood. The music is lush and expressive and often incorporates jazz-like harmonies. The brisk third movement, Juba, draws its inspiration from the tradition of rhythmic body-slapping performed by slaves, who were prohibited from playing musical instruments. The syncopated rhythms and imaginative use of percussion give an air of jollity. The short finale, Scherzo, recalls the impassioned energy of the first movement – remaining steadfast in C minor, its final moments close with a sense of wrath.