This week’s Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Masterworks concerts will feature the second of six guest conductors auditioning for the vacant music director position—Shizuo “Z” Kuwahara. I continue to suggest that every Knoxville classical music listener catch all of the candidate concerts this season, for reasons that are obvious.
Kuwahara is opening the concert with a work that is exceedingly fresh, bold, and humorously entertaining, Rodion Shchedrin’s Concerto No. 1 for Orchestra known as “Naughty Limericks.” I often tire of referring to works as “a feast for the orchestra,” but this one truly is. It has a relentless rhythm that practically invites toe-tapping, but with snappy orchestral colors that will cheer up everyone.
Toe-tapping mastered, being pulled out of your seat may be the next exercise on the program. Kuwahara has chosen pianist Stewart Goodyear as his soloist and together they’ll take on the ever-so familiar and engaging Piano Concerto No. 1 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. From the opening horn pronouncement that leads to the piano’s entrance to the final movement’s banter between the piano and woodwinds against a grand and moving sonic landscape, this is a piece not to be missed.
The concert closes with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Opus 44, premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1936.
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Masterworks with guest conductor “Z” Kuwahara and pianist Stewart Goodyear
Thursday/Friday, November 19/20, 7:30 p.m.
Tennessee Theatre, 604 S. Gay Street
SHCHEDRIN: Concerto for Orchestra No. 1 “Naughty Limericks”
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
RACHMANINOFF: Symphony No. 3