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Monterey Symphony – Enigma and Scheherazade
February 16 @ 3:00 pm
Edward Elgar – “Enigma Variations,” Op. 36
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade, Op. 35
February’s program features two massive symphonic works, both weaving elegant stories for the listener. Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” are comprised of 14 separate movements sketching a different friend or close acquaintance. Rather than depicting the person as a whole, a single element of their personality or relationship with Elgar is illustrated musically. The movement titles contain cryptograms or keys to the identity of the subject! Elgar started the work casually at the piano as an exercise to capture someone musically, and evolved it into a large and beloved symphonic work.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade is based on the Arabian Nights. Replete with Russian folk melodies, many excerpts of this piece are used for Olympic figure skating – making it a well-known and recognized work. Rimsky-Korsakov worked tirelessly on this composition, along with his ornate Russian Easter Overture and the completion of Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor. The work features stunning and virtuosic violin solos–not to be missed!