The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) continues its 2012-2013 concert season with a program of towering masterpieces for very large orchestra on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kirkland Fine Arts Center.
The concert features Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 6,” the latest installment in MDSO’s ongoing Mahler cycle, which has presented one of the nine Mahler symphonies every second or third year since 1998. According to MDSO Music Director and Conductor Michael Luxner, the Mahler cycle has been a “transformative experience” for the orchestra, its audience, and the community. “Each of the nine has its own story to tell,” remarked Luxner. “Together they form an epic unmatched by any body of work in any art form. Mahler calls forth everything that an orchestra has to offer, and rewards its audience with compelling, even life-changing experiences. Our audience has reveled in the journey thus far, and the Sixth will not disappoint. Mahler himself said that his Sixth would only be fully appreciated by a later generation that has ‘previously absorbed and digested’ the first five, and that’s precisely what our audience has done.”
Mahler’s Sixth calls for a very large orchestra, expanded even further in its fourth and final movement. It is 80 minutes long and tightly constructed along classical lines. Among its unusual features are the famous “hammerstrokes of fate” in the final movement, a sound never achieved to Mahler’s satisfaction during his lifetime, for which special instruments have been newly constructed by the Millikin University percussion studio.
The Mahler will be played in two parts, divided by an intermission after the first movement. Preceding the Mahler will be a performance of another work new to Decatur audiences, “Sensemayá,” by the 20th century Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. Also for large orchestra and with greatly expanded percussion, “Sensemayá” is based on an Afro-Cuban poem of the same name, subtitled “Song to Kill a Snake.” Luxner calls it “an exotically colorful and intensely rhythmic work infused with the spirit of ancient folk ritual and incantation.”
The performance will be preceded by a concert preview in the Kirkland Lecture Room at 6:45 p.m., hosted by Dr. Travis Stimeling of the Millikin University musicology faculty. The preview is free and open to concert ticket holders.
Tickets are $13-$16.50 and are available through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at www.kirklandfinearts.com
. Box Office hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Box Office orders.
Concerts of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Midwest Arts Council.