Jacksonville Symphony Plays Beethoven’s “Eroica”

November 6, 2013 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Jacksonville, Fla. – The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, led by guest conductor Robert Moody, performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” on November 21, 22, and 23, as part of the Florida Blue Masterworks Series and Mayo Clinic Coffee Series. Also featured on the program is Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) performed with guest vocalists Christina Major and Troy Cook and the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus.

The Jacksonville Symphony’s 2013-14 season showcases a new generation of conductors, continuing with Robert Moody taking the podium. Moody is music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony, artistic director of Arizona Musicfest, and music director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine. Also well versed in vocal music, Moody founded The Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and served as its music director for seven years.

Moody said of the program, “It is the funeral march movement from Beethoven’s Eroica which led me to pair the symphony with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem.  Both the funeral march of Beethoven, and the choral setting of Vaughan Williams, serve to honor and memorialize those who have given their life for freedom, as well as to make a clarion call for Peace.”

Moody personally selected Dona Nobis Pacem, one of his favorite pieces, to have the opportunity to work with the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus as well as the orchestra and celebrate the greatest heroes who have served in the military so that the rest of us may enjoy peace.

There are few seminal moments in the evolution of Music; Beethoven’s great Third symphony is one of them. By creating a “concept” for a symphony, in this case the concept of Heroism, and by employing a completely new harmonic and dynamic framework for expression, “Eroica” is – indeed – the heroic first volley of evolution from the Classical to Romantic eras. Hearing it live is a not-to-miss experience.

Check out Leonard Bernstein's commentary on 'Eroica':

Here is his performance of the first movement of Beethoven's Third Symphony.

Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem (1936)

Ralph Vaughan Williams knew the horrors of war all too well. A veteran of the First World War, he completely understood the dangerous political currents in motion during the mid-1930s. He chose to address this by composing one of the greatest choral/orchestral works ever written. Music and text marry together perfectly, as do the words of the Bible and of the great American poet Walt Whitman. Dona Nobis Pacem is an honoring of those who have served a memorial to those who paid the ultimate price in sacrifice for Freedom, and a call to Peace for all.

About the Guest Artists
Christina Major
Soprano Christina Major is a rising star, known for her sumptuous and agile “Italianate sound.” Major has performed frequently with Moody, and with such highly acclaimed ensembles as the Phoenix Symphony, Midsummer Mozart Festival in San Francisco, Trujillo Symphony Peru, Santa Fe Opera, and many others.

Check her out singing Summertime and Time to Say Goodbye with Sergiy Kovalchuk

Here she is singing a bit from Mozart:

Troy Cook
Troy Cook’s 2013-14 season includes performances with Kentucky Opera as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra; Winston-Salem Symphony (Handel's Messiah), Boston Lyric Opera (Ricardo in I Puritani), and Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Marquis de La Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites). Upcoming engagements also include performances with San Diego Opera, Dallas Opera and Opera Philadelphia. Also a frequent performer with Moody, this is a return engagement for Cook with the Jacksonville Symphony.

Check him out performing the role of Paolo Albiani a at a Kentucky Opera Patrons' Circle party on November 4 (a couple of days ago).

The Jacksonville Symphony Chorus
The Jacksonville Symphony Chorus is directed by Donald McCullough and features some of the First Coast area’s finest voices. With more than 25 years of making great music with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Jacksonville Symphony Chorus has sung for many landmark Symphony events. The roster also includes many professional musicians and skilled amateur performers. In December, the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus is featured in “Holiday Pops” and Handel’s Messiah.

Event Information
Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 22, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
Friday & Saturday, November 22 & 23, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.
Florida Blue MASTERWORKS Series
Mayo Clinic COFFEE Series
Coffee concert sponsored by BRASS; Masterworks concerts sponsored by Brooks Rehabilitation
Thursday concert dedicated by The Estate of Doina Gradina Farkas
Robert Moody, conductor
Christina Major, soprano*; Troy Cook, baritone*
Jacksonville Symphony Chorus*
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Dona Nobis Pacem* (not on Coffee Concert)
Beethoven dedicated “Eroica” to Napoleon but later scratched his name off the front page when Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor. He later dedicated the symphony to the heroic in everyman.
Amid fears of an impending war, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ cantata makes a plea for peace.
Coffee concert ticket prices: $16-$26. Masterworks ticket prices: $25-$72. Call 904.354.5547 or log on to JaxSymphony.org for more information.
Location: Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

About the Guest Conductor,Robert Moody

Robert Moody has been music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony since 2005, artistic director of Arizona Musicfest in Phoenix since 2007, and music director of the Portland (Me.) Symphony Orchestra since 2008.

Guest conducting appearances in recent seasons include the symphony orchestras of Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Pacific, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Buffalo, Louisville, and many more.  Summer festival appearances include Santa Fe Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Brevard Music Center, Eastern Music Festival, PortOpera, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

Beginning his career as répétiteur (rehearsal accompanist and vocal coach), Mr. Moody later became a house conductor for the Landestheater Opera in Linz, Austria.  He has gone on to conduct at the opera companies of Santa Fe, North Carolina, Rochester, Hilton Head, and the Brevard Music Center.  Mr. Moody also served as chorus master for a production of Verdi’s Otello at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Mr. Moody has accompanied many of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, Andre Watts, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Midori, Time for Three and Chris Thile.

Mr. Moody served as associate, then resident conductor of The Phoenix Symphony from 1998 through 2006. There he conducted a wide variety of concerts, including Classics, Chamber, Pops, Family, Handel's Messiah, and the New Year's Eve gala. His ability to speak with ease from the podium helped new converts to classical music and enthusiasts alike to gain a greater appreciation for orchestral music.  Audiences at his concerts grew considerably during his time in Phoenix. Mr. Moody also founded The Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and served as music director for seven years.

Prior to Phoenix, Mr. Moody served as associate conductor for the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, and music director and founder of the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.