SoNA presents closing concert of inaugural season on April 14

Courtesy photo

The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) will present the fifth and closing concert of its 2011-12 inaugural season at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 14 at Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.

Under the baton of director Paul Haas, SoNA will explore the theme of love for its grand finale performance of the season, beginning with Mahler’s searing Adagietto — perhaps one of the most famous symphonic movements in music history — and ending with Beethoven’s epic Ninth Symphony, which through its final Ode to Joy is a plea for all mankind to embrace and love one another.

Sharing the stage with SoNA musicians will be the SoNA Chorale, anchored by the SoNA Singers and including choirs from John Brown University and Bentonville High School.

Paul Haas, Music Director

There will also be a Creative Conversation with Maestro Haas and KUAF 91.3 FM’s Kyle Kellams (open to all concertgoers), preceding the show at 6:45 p.m. in Starr Theater.

“On one level, this final concert of SoNA’s inaugural season is a celebration of the rebirth of orchestral music in Northwest Arkansas,” said Haas. “We’re so proud that this entire region has welcomed us back with open arms. On another level, the music for this concert is a totally different kind of celebration: a celebration of love in all its forms.”

“The majority of our population has heard Mahler’s Adagietto from his Fifth Symphony, probably on one of many movie soundtracks that include it, but I bet that most of those people couldn’t tell you who wrote it,” Haas said. “After composing it, Mahler sent it to his fiancée as a declaration of love, which is probably the most romantic proposal story in the history of mankind. And, everybody knows the Ode to Joy from the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – pretty much any child can sing it. The rest of the piece is an astonishing journey from darkness to light, and it’s impossible to listen to a performance of it without getting swept along by its propulsive energy. The fact that it is an impassioned plea for universal brotherhood and love, together with its radical undermining and reshaping of Western musical thought, make Beethoven’s Ninth perhaps the most important piece in the Western tradition.”

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