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Big Finish to 16-17 Season with An Alpine Symphony

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has a big finish in store for the 2016-17 season with the orchestra’s first performance of Richard Strauss’ monumental masterpiece, An Alpine Symphony. Music Director José Luis Gomez will lead this fast-paced, hour-long musical trek up an Alpine peak, inspired by the composer’s own experiences as a young hiker. More than 120 musicians are needed to perform this gorgeously colored and consistently engaging music, an orchestra so large it precludes An Alpine Symphony from being performed very often. This may be Tucson audiences only chance to hear it live. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36, “Linz,” will open the program. Performances are Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 9 at 2:00 p.m. at the Tucson Music Hall. Concert Comments, one hour prior to performances, are complimentary with tickets.

“An Alpine Symphony for me is a hymn that shows when mankind and nature speak the same language, a language that only music can express,” says Maestro Gomez. “This is a unique spiritual journey.”

An Alpine Symphony depicts the experiences of climbing an Alpine mountain. As a boy, Strauss experienced an Alpine adventure similar to the one described in the symphony. The sounds and audible images are enhanced by the huge orchestra and unusual instruments such as heckelphone or bass oboe, Wagner tubas and thunder and wind machines.

The action-packed adventure begins happily enough but takes an ominous turn when the lads lose their way in the woods, are forced to cross a glacier and a dangerous precipice before finally reaching the summit of the mountain, announced by Strauss with a fanfare in the trombones. Lush orchestral passages evoke a huge panorama as can only be seen from the very pinnacle. Again, the scene turns dark on the descent as a thunderstorm deluges the hikers, but by the time they reach the base, the sun is setting and a deliquescent calm prevails in the music.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 36, now known as the “Linz” is the entre into Mozart’s final five brilliant symphonies and hints of great things to come. Mozart stopped in Linz to spend several days with a friend, Count Thun-Hohenstein. He was so overwhelmed by the generosity of the Count that he hurriedly wrote a symphony for him because there was going to be a concert at the theater there and Mozart didn’t have a single work with him. He composed in hours, what would have taken a lesser talent weeks, months or even years.

José Luis Gomez was appointed Music Director of the Tucson Symphony in February, 2016. He has conducted Classic Series programs and Specials including this season’s opening concert, Classic Gershwin and the Romero Guitar Quartet’s performance with the TSO. He recently announced his inaugural season as Music Director will feature performances by Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Rachel Barton Pine and “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II” and include music that reflects his life’s musical journey.

The Classic Series is sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Dyer Vanek.

Tickets to An Alpine Symphony are $30 to $86. They are available online, at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office, 2175 N. Sixth Avenue or by phone at (520) 882-8585. TSO Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.