Aspen Music Festival And School

Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra

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With special thanks to the John P. and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation. Local business support provided by The Little Nell.

Benedict Music Tent
6:00 PM
$25.00

Reserved Seating

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MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
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HOLST: The Planets, op. 32

Pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski had an international concert career which gained him access to diplomatic circles and the media. In 1918, after the end of WWI, he met with President Woodrow Wilson and succeeded in having Poland added to Wilson’s peace terms, the Fourteen Points. In 1919, he was appointed prime minister of the newly independent Poland and served for 10 months. By 1922 he’d had enough of politics and returned to musical life, playing at Carnegie Hall and filling the 20,000 seat Madison Square Garden. Given that his only Piano Concerto contains a wealth of beautiful melodies and passionate expression, its relative obscurity may be due only to its lacking an audience-grabbing theme on the level of the other great Romantic concertos. Returning to Aspen for this performance is Garrick Ohlsson, who was hailed in 2016 by the Seattle Times for his “incredible technique with razor-sharp accuracy, producing a sound so lush it almost glistens.”

Unlike Paderewski, Holst shunned the public spotlight. After the enormous success of The Planets and The Hymn of Jesus, he wrote to a friend “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” Needing solitude to compose, he soon retreated from the glare of adulation. At the premiere of The Planets, Holst commented that “These pieces were suggested by the astrological significance of the planets. There is no program music in them, neither have they any connection with the deities of classical mythology bearing the same names. If any guide to the music is required, the subtitle of each piece will be found sufficient, especially if used in a broad sense. For instance, Jupiter brings jollity in the ordinary sense, and also the more ceremonial kind of rejoicing associated with religious or national festivities. Saturn brings not only physical decay, but also a vision of fulfillment. Mercury is the symbol of mind.”

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Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO