The Pensacola Symphony returns to the stage of the Saenger Theatre this Saturday, January 14th, at 7:30pm. Pianist Jon Nakamatsu will join the orchestra for the annual “Beethoven and Blue Jeans” concert. Music Director Peter Rubardt and UWF professor Dr. Hedi Salanki stopped by the WUWF studios to share some thoughts on the performance.
HS: This music is so healthy, so happy! No wonder it is one of the most popular classical pieces.
PR: Good New Year’s music! And it’s one of those pieces that has crossed into popular culture. And of course that’s because of lone ranger and all the cartoons and it is the opening piece of our “Beethoven and Blue Jeans” concert.
HS: Throughout the years this became one of the most popular concerts of the season for PSO, I wonder why?
PR: Every year! Well maybe it is because we’re all wearing blue jeans, that’s really fun, but it’s also because it’s a really fun program and we also include a couple of chestnuts like the one that you just heard but also a couple of pieces that I’m pretty sure have never been played at the Saenger theater before.
HS: But I’m sure that Beethoven’s fourth concerto has been played.
PR: It has, boy, what a magnificent piece. Let’s just listen to the opening.
HS: This is a very sophisticated piece, I think you need an amazing pianist to bring out the beauty of that.
PR: Well, we do, Jon Nakamatsu is coming back. He’s been to Pensacola twice before and I’ve had the pleasure of working with him elsewhere and he’s just the consummate artist.
HS: And I’m so excited because this time he will give a recital at the University of West Florida music hall on Tuesday and it will be a terrific program and he will also give an open master class on Monday before that so it’s so exciting to have him back.
PR: It’s a busy weekend to have Jon in town.
HS: In the last couple of weeks you have talked a lot about the composer Delius, I’m wondering how did he make it on this program?
PR: Well he’s a british composer lived in the late 19th early 20th century and he used to be very popular but I’ve sort of just discovered him myself and I’m just wild about this piece. It’s got lots of passion but still some of that British reserve.
HS: So, what else is on tap for this concert?
PR: Written at almost the same time as the Delius is the Ravel, “Une barque sur l'ocean“ or “a ship on the ocean” An exquisite illustration of Ravel’s orchestration at its finest.
HS: So what do you close the concert with?
PR: We’re going to come back home with the American composer Mason Bates. Mason has integrated the orchestral world and the sounds of electronic music. And he is not the first one to try do it but he has taken it up a notch and it’s really some pretty cool stuff. I think these are some sounds that have never been heard on the stage of the Saenger Theater.
HS: It sounds like a rock band in the middle of the symphony orchestra!
PR: Well, that’s kind of what it is and it’s just going to be a whole lot of fun.
HS: Let’s get those jeans on and come to the concert!
PR: It’s going to be a good one.
That was Pensacola Symphony Music Director Peter Rubardt talking about the concert this Saturday at the Saenger Theatre. More information is available at the symphony office, 435-2533, or online at pensacolasymphony.com.