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Pepe Romero & Mahler Program at a Glance

Mar 26 2024

Tuesday, May 7, 2024  

It is a great pleasure to welcome the celebrated guitarist Pepe Romero to share the Merrill stage with the PSO and Music Director Eckart Preu for the first time. Mr. Romero’s spectacular career has so far spanned more than six decades and shows no sign of waning. Of particular interest tonight is his long working relationship with the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, a relationship that yielded several works written for Pepe Romero or for the guitar quartet in which he long played with his father and brothers. The Concierto de Aranjuez, written before Romero’s birth,  is a small masterpiece, brilliantly scored for a chamber orchestra to allow the guitar prominence whenever it plays. It depicts the gardens of the royal palace of Aranjuez in Spain. The second movement, with its soulful English Horn solo, has taken on a life of its own, appearing in TV commercials and adapted by jazz and pop artists including Miles Davis and guitarist Brian May.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 fills most of the evening, requiring about seventy minutes to perform. Written during the summers of 1902 and 1903, it was first heard in 1904 in Cologne under the composer’s direction. The long solo trumpet call that opens the symphony is among the most memorable in the symphonic repertoire, covering the full range of the instrument and recurring throughout the movement. Some commentators have noted that its first motif can be heard as an upside-down version of the opening of another famous fifth symphony, that of Beethoven. Highlights of this work are too numerous to list, but you may want to note the solo horn work in the scherzo, and the achingly beautiful Adagietto. Please take some moments to read Mark Rohr’s superb note on this symphony, which appears nearby in the program book.

– Martin Webster

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Individual tickets available for sale on June 17.



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Bring your class to a youth concert

This year’s Youth Concert will feature a performance of Carnival of the Animals: Remix, an engaging and reimagined version of Saint-Saëns’ famous work. Featuring local artists including a rapper, a Native American flute player, and an erhu player, this interactive daytime performance is perfect for all elementary students (K-4).

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