VELVETY AND BREATHLESS

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American River College Orchestra

American River College Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony and Soloist Irina Samarina playing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor.

Moving from velvety and smooth to turbulent and breathless, Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor is considered one of the great Romantic concertos and soloist Irina Samarina has the credentials to tackle the work. This concerto and Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony round out ARC Orchestra’s program on May 2nd at 7:30 pm at the ARC Theater.

The Romantic period is characterized by expanded orchestras and powerful expressions of emotions. The violin concerto is no exception.

“Sibelius’ concerto is full of images of Finland’s nature, cold as fire, dark emotional plains, dramatic melodies, and a lot of lyricism,” explained Samarina. “I love playing this concerto because it gives the soloist an opportunity to shine and gives the orchestra a strong role. The most challenging thing is to blend and balance all the emotions as an ensemble and a soloist.”

Samarina has been playing the violin since she was seven years old. She has a doctorate in musical arts and has traveled as a soloist in Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Israel, and the United States.

She is currently playing in Stockton Symphony Orchestra, teaching, and is an active member of Music Teachers’ Association of California.

This will be the first time Samarina has collaborated with the ARC Orchestra. “It is such wonderful experience,” she said. “I love how the orchestra brings melodies that the soloist is trying to stay on top of. It is great to share and put all thoughts into the music, music that brings a message of light and hope.”

River College Orchestra

The orchestra is also performing Tchaikovsky’s last symphony, one that reveals the composer’s virtuosity as well as the tragedy of his time. The first movement opens with the brooding bassoon echoed by dark notes coming from the strings before lightening up with a quicker theme from the winds.

The second movement proceeds gracefully into the third which is the emotional highpoint of the work. The symphony is groundbreaking in its ending. Tchaikovsky chooses an adagio lamentoso, as slow and melancholy as the words suggest and then the entire work ends in a minor key.

“Some feel that the sixth symphony is Tchaikovsky’s suicide letter to the world,” said Steven Thompson, ARC Orchestra director. “His death occurred nine days after the scores’ completion in what we now know was a coerced poisoning by a circle of Tchaikovsky’s former law school classmates.

Their concern was that Tchaikovsky was about to be outed for for being gay (in a severely homophobic Czarist Russia) which they felt would bring dishonor to their alma mater. They convinced him to take his own life through a dosing of arsenic… a horrible and painful death.

The events leading up to his decision to end his life seem to have happened after the symphony’s completion date, but the story persists. At times melancholy and emotional and at other times triumphant and heroic, Tchaikovsky wrote that this symphony was the best of his works.”

For more information on the American River College Orchestra and these concerts,
contact Dr. Steven Thompson at (916) 484-8433
or visit the ARCO website.
General information can also be found at the ARCO Facebook page.

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Lika Emelyanova

Russian Time Magazine Contributor

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