Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Julian Schwarz, cello
Umoja, Anthem for Unity, for orchestra
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
Der Rosenkavalier Suite (Arr. Gerard Schwarz)
It’s a musical family affair for the opening weekend of the CSO’s 2022-2023 season with father and son Gerard and Julian Schwarz.
For the first time in history, the CSO will perform a work by Valerie Coleman—a highly sought-after composer for orchestra commissions. Coleman’s Umoja (“unity” in Swahili) was originally written as a song for women’s choir; it has also been reimagined for woodwind quintet and, in 2019, commissioned as a full orchestral work by The Philadelphia Orchestra. Emotive folk melodies collide with bold brass and percussion, taking the listener on a journey, addressing societal tension and social injustice, and then the music returns to its undeniable theme–and brings everyone together.
Guest cellist Julian Schwarz joins the orchestra in Elgar’s Cello Concerto, which was completed in 1919 during a particularly bleak period of the British composer’s life. The WWI armistice between Germany and the Allies had halted fighting in late 1918, but the war had already taken its toll and Elgar’s despair was poured into this last of his large-scale works. Despite the somber moment in time and the loss that it represents, the Cello Concerto is timeless music that is full of life and exudes compassion.
Richard Strauss’s music from the 1913 opera Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) was so adored that it was adapted into an orchestral suite for the concert hall in the 1940s. With its audacious horns and sweeping strings, the suite tells a dramatic love story without abandoning the comedic interludes that ensue. Strauss employed waltzes throughout the piece and, in the final moments, celebrates the triumph of true love with the “Rosenkavalier Waltz.”