UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed.
My kids and I have been listening to “Mama’s songs” in the van again. I’ve been playing a CD of tone poems by Richard Strauss, including Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche. We are looking forward the upcoming San Antonio Symphony concert, DISCOVER Till Eulenspiegel, on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 3 p.m. at the Tobin Center. The Symphony gave me four tickets for my family to use and another four tickets for me to give away to my readers. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment, no later than Wednesday, January 21, sharing your favorite way to learn about classical music. I will randomly choose a winner and send an email notice on January 22.
DISCOVER Till Eulenspiegel is part of the Strauss Festival, a collaboration of many arts organizations across San Antonio that runs through February 22. The Strauss Festival started strong with OPERA San Antonio‘s Salome. (OPERA San Antonio provided me with a free ticket.) It was a magnificent event; read more from local critics David Hendricks and James Baker. Next weekend, the Symphony will also perform Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel, among other pieces, at two Classics concerts on January 24 and 25 at 8 p.m.
The two DISCOVER concerts present an interesting contrast. The Strauss tone poems are program music: they are meant to tell a story. Strauss used snippets of melodies to represent characters and traits, such as the mischief of Till Eulenspiegel (a German folk hero) and Don Juan’s longing for the ideal woman. By contract, Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto is absolute music: it’s abstract, not meant to represent anything. It’s up to the listener to feel the uplifting lyricism and the stormy tension.
One of the reasons why I am looking forward to these DISCOVER concerts so much is that I want to hear from Music Director and Conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing about these pieces of music. When you enter the hall for a DISCOVER concert, one of the first things you notice is the large video screen above the orchestra. The program will begin with Lang-Lessing’s slide presentation, including photos and video clips. Occasionally, he will ask the orchestra to help by playing musical excerpts. (F.T.’s review of DISCOVER “New World” Symphony has details about Lang-Lessing’s introduction to the Dvořák piece.) While the orchestra performs the full piece of music, the camera will zoom in on a particular instrument or soloist, or show Lang-Lessing’s face while conducting.
My earlier post about last season’s DISCOVER Schubert “The Great” included tips about introducing your kids to a new piece of classical music. We listen in the car—it’s a captive audience. Jeremy Brimhall, the Symphony’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, recommends playing classical music while the family does a quiet activity together, such as playing board games. Sometimes I find that a video clip will hold my kids’ interest more than just the audio. Do you have a favorite way to learn about classical music?
I hope you will make plans to attend the Symphony’s DISCOVER concerts this season. The shorter program, preview lecture, and video screen closeups make each concert a rich educational experience for kids and adults. They are a good value, too—tickets are $10, $15, or $25 each, depending on the location of the seats.
To enter the giveaway of four tickets to DISCOVER Till Eulenspiegel on Sunday, January 25, 2015, leave a comment, no later than Wednesday, January 21, about your favorite way to learn about classical music. I will randomly choose a winner and send notice by email on January 22. Good luck!
Disclosure: The San Antonio Symphony gave me four free tickets to give away, and another four tickets for my family and me to use.