DuPage Symphony Orchestra lights up Naperville with 'Inspirations'

"Do not believe those who try to persuade you that composition is only a cold exercise of the intellect. The only music capable of moving and touching us is that which flows from the depths of a composer's soul when he is stirred by inspiration," said Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The DuPage Symphony Orchestra prepared for its audience a beautiful concert that features music sparked by various sources of inspiration. This concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 20 at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.

This touching concert program, called "Inspirations," will demonstrate where various composers drew their inspiration from and how they transformed their emotions and feelings into beautiful musical sounds and unforgettable musical thoughts.

Certainly, this concert program wouldn't be possible without the inspiration that is constantly pulsing from the DSO Music Director and Conductor Barbara Schubert, who has been leading the orchestra in this role since 1986. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her mastership is unquestionable. The DSO musicians don't only reflect the composers' musical ideas and thoughts while they perform but also demonstrate the conductor's approach to the music being performed.

The concert will feature a composition called New England Triptych written by 20th century American composer William Schuman. Schuman contributed a lot to American culture and was considered to be "a long-time champion of an 'American' musical sound and style." He won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1985 citing "more than half a century of contribution to American music as composer and educational leader." He also received the National Medal of Arts in 1987.

Schuman wrote New England Triptych in 1956. It was spurred by the music of 18th century composer William Billings and demonstrated the atmosphere of the Revolutionary period. Schuman's tribute to this early American choral composer captures "the spirit of sinewy ruggedness, deep religiosity, and patriotic fervor that we associate with the Revolutionary period."

Another masterpiece that the DuPage Symphony Orchestra will perform during that night will be Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet: A Fantasy Overture. This orchestral work is based on Shakespeare 's play of the same name. As many other composers, Tchaikovsky was deeply inspired by Shakespeare and wrote other works based on his plays as well. In his plays, Shakespeare's main characters often make reference to music with singers and dancers performing on stage as well. Even the words pronounced by the Bard flow like music. Of course, Tchaikovsky was moved to draw his inspiration from that. It is also known that Tchaikovsky dedicated his Romeo and Juliet: A Fantasy Overture to Mily Balakirev, who inspired and encouraged Tchaikovsky to write it.

The concert also will introduce the colorful Symphony No. 2, the so-called Romantic, written in 1930 by American composer Howard Hanson, who was born to Swedish immigrants. Hanson was intrigued by his Scandinavian heritage, but he also was inspired by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, with whom Hanson studied at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. However, the composer himself cited Grieg and Sibelius as his most powerful influences.

Hanson's Symphony No. 2 has been hailed as "the epitome of the twentieth-century symphony … written by an American." Hanson himself described this cyclical, three-movement work as "young in spirit, lyrical and romantic in temperament, and simple and direct in expression." This symphony became overwhelmingly successful and popular, and the DuPage Symphony Orchestra is happy to share the beauty of this masterpiece with its audience.

Why do we need to attend this concert? As Tchaikovsky said, "Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven's gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls. It is not the straw to which the drowning man clings; but a true friend, refuge, and comforter, for whose sake life is worth living."

It's worth living if we are inspired and comforted by classical music. It's strength, charm and beauty will save this world, while keeping our hearts and souls young, happy and motivated. The DuPage Symphony Orchestra prepared for us these unforgettable masterpieces with love and inspiration, and our job now is to embrace them with love.

Good seats are still available for "Inspirations" on Saturday, November 20 at 7:30pm. Visit the DSO website and view full details on the 2021-22 concert season. Single tickets are on sale now: Limited subscriptions are still available by calling the DSO office at (630) 778-1003. You can also purchase tickets by calling (630) 637-SHOW.

Natalia Dagenhart


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