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Carmina Burana

We christen this season’s magnificent Davidson Classical Series with a matched pair of masterworks. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, in its virtuoso orchestration by Maurice Ravel, opens the program; then we’ll hear Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s gripping rendition of poetry by the savvy, mischievous goliards – “monks gone wild,” if you will. Experience the mystique, dark humor, and rapturous bliss of this panoramic window on medieval life and lore in an unforgettable performance featuring some of Alabama’s finest young classical singers and the Huntsville Community Chorus.

Mussorgsky | Pictures at an Exhibition
Orff | Carmina Burana

10/20/2017 7:30 PM
Ravel and Debussy

The “gentle giants” of the early twentieth century, these two French composers created sound-worlds never before imagined, leaving an indelible impression on the consciousness of the age. Ravel’s saffron-scented Rapsodie espagnole is one of his first mature orchestral works, and the cosmopolitan, jazzy Piano Concerto in G ranks among the most dazzling creations of his later years. Respighi’s watercolor Fountains of Rome, and Debussy’s La mer, inspired by views of the wild English Channel coast, round out tonight’s decadent feast for the ears.

Ravel | Rapsodie espagnole
Ravel | Piano Concerto in G
Respighi | Fountains of Rome
Debussy | La mer

11/3/2017 7:30 PM
Four Courses Eight Musicians

Dinner & Concert

Franz Schubert loved spending time in the taverns of his native Vienna, a few of which today bear plaques distinguishing them as places where the composer ate, drank, and worked late into the night. This evening, we invite you and your guests to enjoy dinner and drinks as Gregory and the musicians of the HSO bring Schubert’s approachable but ambitious Octet to a “secret room” hidden in plain sight within Straight to Ale at Campus 805, Huntsville’s nationally renowned craft brewery.

Schubert’s Octet

11/5/2017 5:30 PM
TV & Movie Hits

New Year’s Eve with the Symphony
Be sure to include the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra in your New Year’s Eve plans, because we’re tuning in and toasting to great orchestral music from screens big and small – blockbuster epics like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Pirates of the Caribbean as well as nostalgic nods to classic television. Music is what makes the magic happen, and we have plenty of thrills and surprises in store for fans of all ages.

12/31/2017 7:30 PM
Beethoven Seven

Known as the “Apotheosis of the Dance,” Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 presents a particularly vivacious side of the composer; even the introspective second movement bursts with rythmic vitality. The centerpiece of a triad of gems offered tonight, the Beethoven is complemented by Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn, which the composer transcribed from its original setting for two pianos in order to teach himself the art of orchestration; and by Alban Berg’s sublimely crafted Violin Concerto, the occasion for Finnish virtuoso Elina Vähälä’s return to the Rocket City.

Brahms | Variations on a Theme by Haydn
Berg | Violin Concerto
Beethoven | Symphony No. 7

1/20/2018 7:30 PM
Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev
Tonight’s all-Russian program reprises our performance of Peter and the Wolf, but with an interesting twist—we’ll experience this children’s classic as narrated by conductor Gregory Vajda. Prokofiev’s lyrical Violin Concerto No. 1, composed during the year of the October Revolution, will prepare you for the grand drama of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Maybe the best-loved of the six, the Fourth is a vivid delight for the imagination, from the ominous, pealing brass of the introduction through the stirring finale.

Prokofiev | Peter and the Wolf
Prokofiev | Violin Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsk | Symphony No. 4
2/3/2018 7:30 PM
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Presented without Orchestra

The nightly jazz concerts at New Orleans’ Preservation Hall are the stuff of legend. These musical ambassadors of the bona fide Big Easy have toured since 1963, continuously bringing both new musicians and fans into their fold; they have performed and recorded with Carlos Santana, the Grateful Dead, Harry Connick, Jr., Dr. John, and Pete Seeger, and have appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, the White House, and Coachella in recent years. A recipient of the 2006 National Medal of Arts, Preservation Hall Jazz Band is dedicated to preserving and perfecting a genuine American art form, and knows how to have a large time doing it!

3/10/2018 7:30 PM
Serenade for Orchestra and Audience
Sigmund Haffner, a friend of the Mozart family in Salzburg, commissioned the Serenade No. 7 for his sister’s wedding festivities; it sports a de facto violin concerto in its inner movements. In the rustic Carriage House of the beautiful Huntsville Botanical Gardens, you’ll have the unique opportunity to sit right inside the orchestra while Gregory leads you on a personal tour through this remarkable music.

Mozart’s “Haffner” Serenade
3/18/2018 3:30 PM
The King of Instruments
Tonight’s performance in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church brings together the sonic splendor of the organ and the richness of the symphony orchestra for a concert experience you’ll remember for years to come. The first portion of the program focuses on American music: Samuel Barber’s Toccata festiva for organ and orchestra shares center stage with solo selections performed by Grammy-winning organist Nathan Laube. In the second half, we present Saint-Saëns’ monumental Symphony No. 3, the “Organ Symphony,” which brings to bear the awesome majesty of the King of Instruments in its final movement.

Barber | Second Essay for Orchestra
Barber | Toccata Festiva
Saint-Saëns | Symphony No. 3
4/6/2018 7:30 PM
E.T. the Extra-terrestrial in Concert
Film Screening with Live Orchestra
With its innocence and sincerity, Steven Spielberg’s 1982 sci-fi fantasy set hearts aglow. Thanks in large part to the sensitive orchestral score by John Williams, the story of Elliott and his unusual friend captured the imaginations of millions and became a cultural phenomenon. Grab some popcorn, settle in, and share the magic with the whole family as we screen the original film — and perform the soundtrack live with full orchestra – in this one-of-a-kind film concert spectacular.
4/14/2018 7:30 PM
Alabama's Storytellers
Selections by Bernstein, Barber, Dvořák, and Still

To walk through the doors of U. G. White Mercantile in downtown Huntsville is to step into the living history of Alabama; nearly every fixture in the store has a story to tell. This afternoon’s Casual Classics performance celebrates our state’s rich storytelling heritage: Alabama’s most treasured wordsmiths and yarn-spinners will entertain and enlighten you, while the musicians of the orchestra perform underscores drawn from the chamber works of composers such as Bernstein, Barber, Dvořák, and William Grant Still.
4/15/2018 3:30 PM
Schumann and Strauss
Richard Strauss rose to international acclaim as a great operatist, but he first made his name as a composer of symphonic poems, orchestral narratives which evoke the concepts and stories of great literary texts. The ecstatic Don Juan was one of his earliest and most popular efforts. Don Quixote, as sweeping and cinematic in scope as Cervantes’ novel, is wryly funny and deeply moving by turns. These two programmatic masterworks are punctuated by the romantic, rhapsodic Cello Concerto of Robert Schumann, a piece often interpreted as a personal tribute to his wife, Clara, and which has in recent times begun to receive the regular attention it deserves.

Strauss | Don Juan
Schumann | Cello Concerto
Strauss | Don Quixote
5/5/2018 7:30 PM
Huntsville Symphony Orchestra

Gregory Vajda, Music Director