Rachmaninoff, Mahler and Carreño

On Saturday evening, Jan. 27, PSO's popular--and sold out-- PSO360 returns with Mr. Gerstein performing George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue

Rachmaninoff, Mahler and Carreño
Friday Evening, Jan. 26, and Sunday Afternoon, Jan. 28

Program Notes  by Dr. Richard E. Rodda 

Conductor Rafael Payare and pianist Kirill Gerstein both make their debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra this weekend. Rafael Payare conducts the Pittsburgh premiere of Venezuelan composer Inocente Carreño’s sweeping and spirited Margariteña, with its Expressive Venezuelan folk melodies and rhythms.

Gilmore Artist Award winner Kirill Gerstein perfoms Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and the program concludes with Gustave Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

"Inocente Carreño conducted the premiere of his composition, Margariteña, in Caracas at the Latin American Music Festival in 1954. . . The title refers both to the island of Margarita, Carreño’s birthplace, and to the Venezuelan song that it takes as its principal subject — Margarita es una lagrima (“Margarita is a Tear”)."

The total failure of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1 sent him into a deep depression and nervous collapse. Rachmaninoff's aunt was successfully treated by Moscow physician Dr. Nicholas Dahl, and the composer was referred for treatment, also successful. Piano Concerto No. 2 is dedicated to Dr. Dahl.

At least three love affairs provide inspiration for Bohemian composer Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1. Josephine Poisl, the daughter of the postmaster in his boyhood home of Iglau inspired  three songs and a cantata after Grimm, which contributed thematic fragments. Johanne Richter, " . . . possessed a numbing musical mediocrity alleviated by a pretty face, and it was because of an infatuation with this singer at the Cassel Opera . . . that  . . . the First Symphony (and) the Songs of the Wayfarer sprang to life." While completing Symphony No. 1 Mahler was working with an opera by Carl Maria von Weber and fell in love with Maria von Weber.

Dr. Rodda's Program Notes are the source of the above information; click the link to read more about this weekend's music.