The composer John Corigliano, famous for his music for the movie "The Red Violin," has forged a colorful friendship over the last couple of years with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Corigliano was here in spring 2007 for the performance of his song cycle "Mr. Tambourine Man," based on the words to Bob Dylan songs. Recently, the BPO performed the world premiere recording of those songs for the Naxos label.
Corigliano will be back in town this weekend when BPO Concertmaster Michael Ludwig plays the "Red Violin Concerto," which Corigliano based on the score of "The Red Violin." Joshua Bell, who performed the music in the movie, has recorded this concerto on Sony Classical. Corigliano has said the piece holds a special place in his heart, because his father, also named John Corigliano, was a violinist and for years was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. The composer dedicated the concerto to his father's memory.
"The Red Violin" was about a fabled historic violin, so it's appropriate that Michael Ludwig will be playing the 1735 "Mary Portman" Guarneri del Gesu, on loan from Buffalonians Clement and Karen Arrison.
The program begins with the overture to Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" and ends with Beethoven's Second Symphony. Full of syncopations and bold writing, the symphony has a deeply moving Larghetto movement and a thrilling finale. Innovation alert: The Second is the first symphony for which Beethoven wrote a scherzo instead of a minuet.
This weekend's performances take place at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday; they will be conducted by Music Director JoAnn Falletta. Admission is $25 to $57. For more info, call 885-5000.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman