Coleridge-Taylor | Danse Nègre from African Suite
Myron | Bell Harbor
Tchaikovsky | Symphony No. 5 in E Minor
Front-line workers join the ECSO as special guests to open the second concert of its 75th anniversary season with You Raise Me Up, popularized in this country by Josh Groban’s 2003 cover version.
Next comes Danse Nègre, the final movement of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s African Suite of 1898. The son of an English woman and a surgeon from Sierra Leone—descended from enslaved Africans freed by the British during the American War of Independence—Coleridge-Taylor studied at London’s Royal College of Music, made three tours of the U.S., and was received at the White House by Teddy Roosevelt.
Closing out the first half is the world premiere of Tom Myron’s Bell Harbor, the second of the Massachusetts-based composer’s works to be performed by the ECSO, following Katahdin: Greatest Mountain in 2010.
The evening’s concluding work is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Composed in 1888, with Tchaikovsky on the podium for its premiere in Saint Petersburg, it was performed in that renamed city during the Nazi siege of Leningrad, even as bombs began to fall at the start of the second movement.