Dvořák’s New World

Antonín Dvořák spent the summer of 1893 in Iowa, and it was America’s endearing, wide-open terrain that inspired the spacious sounds of his Ninth Symphony. The roots of the second movement’s famous English horn tune, sometimes known as “Goin’ Home,” can be traced to Dvořák’s exposure to African-American spirituals. Jessie Montgomery’s tribute to our National Anthem’s 200th anniversary opens the program. Associate Conductor Gonzalo Farias takes the podium in his Jacksonville Symphony Masterworks debut.

Beethoven’s Eroica

The radical opening of Beethoven’s 1803 “Eroica” Symphony is so unlike anything that came before it, some say it is one of the earliest hallmarks of music’s Romantic Era. Strauss’ Metamorphosen, composed in the last days of the European theater of World War II, is an elegy to the passing of that same cultural era. Join Courtney Lewis and the Symphony for a visit to the genesis and twilight of German Romanticism.

Britten and Schumann

The Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings is testament to Benjamin Britten’s flare for setting poetry to music. Tenor Bille Bruley and principal horn player Kevin Reid navigate this anthology of text tethered by a common atmosphere of night, sleep, and dreams. As the Serenade paints the night, so Schumann’s final symphony, the “Rhenish,” depicts the landscapes of the Rhine River through a tapestry of evocative melodies.

Beethoven’s Seventh

Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is not famous for the fire and muscle of his Third and Fifth, but rather for the slow and pensive second movement. A rhythm that feels like the pulse of life runs as a current under a soulful theme full of beauty and longing. Organist Greg Zelek returns to the mighty Bryan Concert Organ to begin the program with Joseph Rheinberger’s lush Second Organ Concerto. Acclaimed British conductor Matthew Halls returns to lead the Symphony through this profound journey.

Schumann and Bartók

Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is a bone-chilling testament to the postwar period of the 20th century, and Schumann’s Second Symphony is inscribed with moody and rebellious sounds in response to the composer’s terminal illness. Follow Courtney Lewis as he leads the Symphony through this deep psychological exploration.

Mahler’s Song of the Earth

Sometimes referred to as Gustav Mahler’s tenth symphony, The Song of the Earth is no ordinary song cycle, titled by the composer “a Symphony for Tenor, Contralto and Orchestra.” Drawing from German adaptations of ancient Chinese poems, the songs explore themes of tragedy and the imminence of death, ultimately asserting a passionate delight in the beauty of living. Witness this narrative through a theatrical lens in this Jacksonville Symphony dramatic staging of Mahler’s profound testament to love and life.

The Late Romantics

On Christmas morning 1870, Richard Wagner’s new wife, Cosima, awakened to quite the surprise: 15 musicians on the staircase outside of her bedroom performing a new piece Richard had written for her birthday. In this instrumental pastorale Wagner lovers will hear many favorite horn calls and bird songs from the composer’s Ring-Cycle opera, Siegfried. Richard Strauss’ Le bourgeois gentilhomme Suite – a stark departure from the composer’s traditionally High Romantic work – is a Neoclassical gem with lively material compiled from his incidental music for a play about a nouveau riche man hoping his riches will elevate him to the status of gentleman.

The Great Schubert Symphony

Franz Schubert revered Beethoven, and even attended the premiere of the giant’s Ninth Symphony. Schubert’s greatest tribute to the master was to write a grand symphony - his own Ninth. Fellow composer Robert Schumann offered these praises: “ enthralls its listeners, drawing them along to the last joyous note.” The strings of the Jacksonville Symphony shine in the opening work, Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro. Join the Symphony family for a musical toast as we close the season with Schubert’s final symphony.