UGA Symphony Orchestra’s February concert embraces romance, Paris

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A pair of storied symphonies make up the program for the UGA Symphony Orchestra’s (UGASO) February 21 concert in Hodgson Concert Hall at 8 p.m.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 “Paris” and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 “Romantic” will be performed in the UGASO’s second of four concerts this semester.

“These are two very contrasting works, equally challenging,” said Mark Cedel, director of the UGASO. “The concert will showcase the orchestra and its versatility.”

Bruckner’s fourth symphony earned its “Romantic” nickname, which was used by the composer himself, by way of the era in which it was created. The Romantic movement in the arts had enjoyed a long, fruitful period in the half-century prior to Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4.

“This is the second Bruckner symphony that we have performed in the last three years as we embark on performing the Bruckner cycle,” said Cedel.

The “Bruckner cycle” refers to the Austrian composer’s nine numbered symphonies. The first Bruckner cycle performance in US history was completed on Jan. 29 by Daniel Barenboim and Staatskapelle Berlin at Carnegie Hall.

Paired with Bruckner’s fourth is Mozart’s Symphony No. 31, nicknamed for the city in which the then-22-year-old composer wrote the symphony.

“This symphony was written for the Parisian audience and caters to their tastes, as Mozart saw them,” said Cedel. “It begins with a flourish that was intended to dazzle his audience.”

Another uniquely Parisian element to the work is the size of the orchestra: unusually large for its time, the instrumentation for the symphony made use of the large orchestra Mozart had on hand in Paris. Indeed, Mozart’s father Leopold is quoted as saying “to judge by the Parisian symphonies [I have] seen, the French must like noisy symphonies.”

Evidently, these choices were successful, as the “Paris Symphony” has become one of Mozart’s more famous symphonies. 

Tickets to the concert are $12 each or $6 with a UGA student ID and can be purchased at pac.uga.edu or the PAC box office. Those unable to attend can watch the concert live on the Hodgson School’s website: music.uga.edu/streaming.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing, and to learn more about the School of Music, go to music.uga.edu.