On Thursday, March 5, people in the Santa Ana area will be treated to a rare (very rare) chance to hear two concertos by Mexican composer Manuel M. Ponce at Segerstrom Hall. On the program are his more-often heard, and better-known, Concierto del sur (Concert of the South), a concerto for guitar and orchestra that he composed for his friend and guitarist, Andrés Segovia. The concerto’s title evokes of the south of Spain, Andalusia, with its gypsy flamenco nuances. The soloist is Mexican guitarist and recording artist Alfonso Moreno.
Other works on the program are Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture and Alexander Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor.
The highlight of the night is Ponce’s Concierto romántico, a concerto for piano and orchestra, composed from 1910-12 while he was in Germany, absorbing the musical romanticism of that country’s composers like Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, et al. The pianist is Irina Chistiakova of Russia. This performance will be the Southern California, if not, United States debut of the piano concerto.
The works will be performed by the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, directed by Enrique Bátiz. Both works were recorded by Bátiz, pianist Jorge Federico Osorio, and the orchestra on this 1996 album:
So rare is the occasion that the last time that Segerstrom Hall had any Mexican classical repertory performed there was in 2007, when the Pacific Symphony Orchestra dedicated their annual American Composers Festival to Mexican composers Manuel M. Ponce, Silvestre Revueltas and others.
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