SASO season finale is a humdinger

Punch Howarth

Linus Lerner leading the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in this season’s final concert promises to be a great conclusion to an outstanding season. Three generations of composers are featured that includes the Russian Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain who died in 1881; German Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G who died in 1920; Englishman Edward Elgar, who died in 1934, his Enigma Variations.

Opening the concert will be the Tone Poem, Night on Bald/Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky. The correct name is St. John’s Eve on Bald Mountain (Ivanocha noch’ na lysoy gore) based on a witches’ sabbath. The mountain is located near Kiev in the Ukraine. Mussorgsky was a member of “The Five,” a group of Russian composers dedicated to avoiding German Western musical tradition and making use of Russian folk ideas. The other members were Balakirev, his teacher, Borodin, Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov. This work was completed in 1867 but his instructor Balakirev didn’t approve and little was done to promote it. He never heard it performed in his lifetime, but Rimsky-Korsakov arranged it after his death. Later still Ravel orchestrated it for the modern orchestra. The work is now commonly performed.

The music opens with a brisk ominous theme leading to a large brass statement and features various interludes, lots of build ups, changes of tempo and has an overall oriental flavor. After building at a frantic pace, village bells depict the coming of dawn. There is a rhapsodic final theme featuring woodwinds and harp heading to a soft tranquil ending.

Violinist Chloe Trevor will perform the Violin Concerto in G by Max Bruch. Ms. Trevor is a native of Dallas where her mother was a violinist in the Dallas Symphony and was her first teacher, and later she studied with Arkady Fomin. She graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Rice University. Chloe has performed with the Dallas, Houston and Knoxville Symphonies and gave a recital at Lincoln Center in New York. She plays an Italian Carlos Landolfi violin made in 1771. Expect an exciting performance accented by her fiery red hair.

Following intermission the orchestra will perform Edward Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma) most commonly known as Enigma Variations. An original theme opens the work and is followed by 14 variations. Elgar is England’s most beloved and revered composer. More will be covered about Enigma in the next article. The concert will be performed on May 9 in Oro Valley and May 10 in SaddleBrooke. Go to for more concert and orchestra information.