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LISTEN: Pensacola Symphony Presents Opening Night


The Pensacola Symphony launches their season in the Saenger Theatre this Saturday, October 3rd.   The program, which starts at 7:30pm, will feature Cuban pianist Jorge Luis Prats, as well as colorful orchestral pieces by Strauss and Tchaikovsky.  Music Director Peter Rubardt and Dr. Hedi Salanki stopped by the studios to share some thoughts on the performance.
Hedi Salanki: This will be your 19th season opener with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestraas usual you put together a very exciting, very dramatic, but very very beautiful music to open the season with.

Peter Rubart: This is really a high octane opening concert, we’ve got a stellar guest artist and we’ve got two orchestral showcases that are both just pure rocket fuel. We’ll be opening the concert with Strauss: Don Juan. This is the piece that launched Strauss’ career. It’s a tone poem. It tells the story of that famous legendary character Don Juan who seduces women all over Europe and ends up desolate and unhappy and surrenders to his foe and dies in a duel. But as you can imagine, given the topic, Strauss’ depiction of love is unmatched.


HS: you paired Don Juan together with Francesca da Ramini, an other very tragic love story.


PR: Tchaikovksy tone poem is based on the fifth cante from Dante’s Inferno and tells the story of  Francesca and Paolo who are condemned to spend all eternity in hell for their adulterous relationship. Tchaikovksy’s depiction of fire and brimstone is absolutely stunning. It’s one of the most virtuosic, spectacular portrayals that he ever created.


HS: Even though the story is so tragic, there is a beautiful love story in the middle.


PR: It is a topic that clearly touched Tchaikovsky deeply and his depiction of the ill fated love between these two is uncommonly deep and rich. I think it is perhaps the most Tchakovksy-ish, if there is such a word, of all of his pieces.


HS: Oh! Real drama! Mercifully, no one dies in the second Piano Concerto by Rachmaninoff!


PR: Well sometimes the pianist probably thinks they are! It is one spectacular piece. I’m really excited about the soloist we have coming: Jorge Luis Prats, a Cuban pianist not at all well known in this country, but oh my gosh! You’ve never heard piano playing like this before.


HS: And we are so excited at the university because he will visit us on October 5, Monday evening, he will be our featured guest at the music hall artist series.


PR: And I’m certainly not going to miss that!


HS: I know I am very excited about this program but I bet your musicians are even more excited about it.


PR: Opening night is always a festive occasion. The musicians, of course, are not only musical colleagues but really dear friends as well and this is the first time we see each other after several months. Of course having three pieces like this on the program only adds to the thrill. It’s really going to be a lot of fun.


That was Pensacola Symphony Music Director Peter Rubardt talking about the opening night concert this Saturday at the Saenger Theatre.  Starting this season the Symphony has moved the concert time up to 7:30pm.  More information is available at  435-2533, or online at pensacolasymphony.com.