John Frayne: Krannert's spring season will go out with a bang

John Frayne: Krannert's spring season will go out with a bang

After spring break, the University of Illinois' quartet in residence, the Jupiter String Quartet, will give its final concert of this season on April 5 in the Foellinger Great Hall. The program offers Dimitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110.

This 1960 work was dedicated to "to the victims of fascism and the war." It was influenced by the composer's visit to the ruins of Dresden, Germany, where he was preparing to compose music for a film about the Allied bombing of that city in World War II. This somber work is full of quotations from other Shostakovich works.

Also on the program will be an unusual work by an unusual composer, Arnold Schoenberg's "Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte," for quartet, piano and narrator. This 15-minute work was written in 1942, and it is a setting of a poem by Lord Byron that attacked Napoleon in the name of freedom. The Jupiters will be joined at the piano by UI faculty member Timothy Ehlen in this performance. The Byron poem was written in 1814, when the defeated Napoleon was going to exile on the island of Elba. The final work on the program is the Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, the first of three quartets written for the Russian Ambassador to Vienna, Count Razumovsky.

The UI Symphony concert on April 6 will present Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Russian Easter" Overture, Manuel De Falla's Suite from the ballet "The Three-Cornered Hat," John Corigliano's "Voyage for String Orchestra," and Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 7.

On April 19, the highly successful tenor, Lawrence Brownlee, whose specialty is the bel canto operas of Rossini and Donizetti, will give his first recital in the Foellinger Great Hall.

The final concert in the Sunday Salon Series, on April 22, will feature the winner of the Krannert Center Debut Artist competition.

For its last offering of the season, Lyric Theatre @ Illinois will perform the 1963 musical “She Loves Me,” with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. This work is based on a 1937 play by Miklos Lazlo, “Parfumerie,”which was memorably made into a film called “The Shop Around the Corner,” directed by Ernst Lubitsch, and starred James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. Two shop clerks, who dislike each other, undergo the surprise of their lives. This musical will be performed in the Tryon Festival Theatre on April 26-29.

Ian Hobson and the Sinfonia da Camera will wind up their season with a concert on April 27 called “A Suite Ending.” Sergei Prokofiev’s Suite No. 1 from his great ballet, “Romeo and Juliet” will be performed, along with the well-known and loved suite from Richard’s Strauss most famous opera, “Der Rosenkavalier.” Also on the program will be the “Shindychew Dances,” from the opera “Paradises Lost” by UI Professor Stephen Taylor. His opera was performed at the Krannert Center in 2012 by the then-named UIUC Opera Program.

On April 29, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, conducted by Stephen Alltop, will end its season with a program which features the first movement, “Becoming Medusa,” from the “Mythology” Symphony by Stacy Garrop, who is Composer in Residence to the C-U Symphony. Other movements from the “Mythology” Symphony were programed on March 2. Then pianist Sun Chang will be soloist in Wolfgang Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-Flat Major, K. 449. Ms. Chang has given recitals at Northwestern, and a video of her performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 is available on the internet.

The C-U Symphony will go out with a big bang, in the form of Gustav Mahler’s sweeping Symphony No. 1 in D Major, inspired by the novel of the German writer Jean Paul, “The Titan,” published between 1800 and 1803.

On May 1, the UI Symphony will perform, with soloists and choral forces, Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem.”

John Frayne hosts "Classics of the Phonograph" on Saturdays at WILL-FM and, in retirement, teaches at the UI. Reach him at frayne@illinois.edu.