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NM Philharmonic opens season with Bach and Tchaikovsky

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Philharmonic will open the season with a pair of concerts swirling with the music of Bach and Tchaikovksy.

The orchestra’s afternoon classics series begins on Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Simms Center for Performing Arts. “Brandenburg to Holberg” will feature Bach’s joyful Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, his Keyboard Concerto in G minor and the famous Brandenburg Concerto No. 5.

Violinist Paul Huang will perform with the New Mexico Philharmonic. (Courtesy of Marco Borggreve)

“If they don’t recognize the name, they’ll recognize the sound, music director Roberto Minczuk said. “Bach is one of those composers who wrote so well for all instruments.”

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival artist Kathleen McIntosh will perform on the harpsichord.

Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, a suite of five movements based on 18th century dance forms in 1884, is next on the program. The composer penned the music in the Baroque style, Minczuk said.

“Also, I like performing at the Simms Center, which has wonderful acoustics and is the perfect size for this concert,” he added.

On Oct. 5, the orchestra will move to Popejoy Hall for its season opener, “Tchaikovsky Times Two,” featuring the Lincoln Center Emerging Artist award-winning violinist Paul Huang. Huang made his Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival debut this summer.

The concert will open with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

“When he composed this concerto 100 years ago, this piece was deemed impossible to perform,” Minczuk said. “It’s a piece now that all the major violinists in the world play.”

The composer’s towering Symphony No. 4 will follow.

“He composed seven symphonies, but No. 4 is the one that really excited the audience at the time because it was so unique, so original,” Minczuk said.

The composer was wrestling with his own issues when he wrote it between 1877 and 1878.

“Tchaikovsky was dealing with an unhappy marriage and personal problems and social problems in a society where you could not express your sexuality,” he added.

The third movement almost sounds as if it were written by another composer.

“He uses the effect of plucking the instruments’ strings with your fingers,” Minczuk said. “It almost sounds like the traditional Russian instrument the balalaika.”

The final movement is a roller coaster ride, Minczuk added.

“It’s a glorious movement that gets everybody on their feet.”

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