Music Director Uriel Segal has selected a blockbuster and a pair of the best loved classics for the season's final two concerts by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
On Saturday at 8:15 p.m. he will gather the orchestra, mezzo-soprano Janine Hawley, the Chautauqua Women's Chorus directed by Robert Wells and the Chautauqua Children's Chorale directed by Nancy Krestic, on the stage of the amphitheater for a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor.
What makes this work a blockbuster is its length and the size of the performing forces more than any apocalypse, profound angst, or cosmic significance emerging from the music. In fact, it's one of Mahler's milder symphonies, devoted to probings of nature and mankind's spiritual musings, as indicated by the titles he assigned to the six movements: (1) What the Forest Tells Me, (2) What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me, (3) What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me, (4) What Man Tells Me, (5) What the Angels Tell Me, and (6) What Love Tells Me. The whole progression of the symphony is, as one writer puts it, ". . . from the larger canvas of the magical green world through communion with its inhabitants into the privacy of the mystical mellow."
Then, to bring the curtain down on the orchestra's 70th season, Segal will be back in the amphitheater at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday to conduct a pillar of the piano-orchestra repertoire, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat ("Emperor"), and one of the most loved Romantic symphonies, Rachmaninoff's surging, deep-rolling Symphony No. 2 in E minor, with its suggestions of rich, dark colors and strong tidal tugs at the emotions.
-- Herman Trotter