Friday, April 20, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Florida Orchestra features classical guitarist

Baroque, classical and romantic: Three genres of music you'll hear if you attend one of the Florida Orchestra's concerts this weekend. But two of the three pieces were written during the 20th century — not when you would expect.

Guitarist Manuel Barrueco will perform Roberto Sierra's Concierto Barroco, which draws heavily on Baroque musical idioms to the point of being neo-Baroque. The piece is inspired by a "magical realistic" novel of the same name written by Alejo Carpentier in 1974. Barrueco has a long history with the work since it was composed for him in 1996. The Cuban-American virtuoso appeared with the Florida Orchestra during their 2009-10 season when he played Astor Piazzolla's Concerto for Guitar and Bandoneón.

The neoclassical work on the program is Stravinsky's Jeu de Cartes ("A Card Game"), a short ballet. Since Stravinsky was an avid poker player, he has explained that his first impressions of a German casino were inspiration for the work. When staged, his "Ballet in Three Deals" follows the main cards in a game of poker as the characters. As a concert piece, the work stands alone because of Stravinsky's intense focus on symphonic form and development.

Guest conductor Cristian Macelaru will also lead the orchestra for Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, "Pathétique." Even though one existed, Tchaikovsky never revealed the program of the work before he died and even changed his contemplated title — "Program Symphony" — to avoid sparking interest in the hidden story. However, we do know the piece is dedicated to his nephew Vladimir Davydov, with whom Tchaikovsky might have had a romantic interest. Whatever the case may be, this piece is the true romantic work on the program, both in terms of music history and emotion.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. $75 for onstage seating in Tampa and St. Petersburg (none in Clearwater), if still available. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286.

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