Redwood Symphony plays Bartok, Copland, Dvorak

What did Bartok, Copland and Dvorak have in common? All three expressed strong feelings for their countries, their compositions embracing the folk music of their native lands. All are represented in Redwood Symphony’s “Celebration of Nationalism” on Sunday in San Mateo .

“We open with Dvorak's popular `Carnival Overture,’ a Czech-flavored tour-de-force,” said music director Eric Kujawsky. Dvorak's music carries recollections of the Bohemian landscape, its songs and dances, backgrounds, feast days and ceremonies, including Slavonic dances and rhapsodies. His “Symphony from the New World ” was inspired by American folk songs.

Dvorak wrote about “Carnival”: “The wanderer reaches the city at nightfall, where a carnival of pleasure reigns supreme. On every side is heard the clangor of instruments, mingled with shouts of joy and people giving vent to their feelings in the songs and dance tunes.”

Sunday’s concert also features Hungarian composer Bartok's Rhapsody No. 2 showcasing concertmaster Heather Katz playing the violin solo. Bartok wrote, “The appropriate use of folk-song material is not limited to the sporadic introduction of imitation of these old melodies but rather a matter of absorbing the means of musical expression hidden in the treasury of folk tunes.”

The performance will end with Copland's Third Symphony, which climaxes with “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Copland recognized the wealth of material found in American folk music, and he borrowed from it liberally. Yet the Third Symphony material is entirely original, even thoughits charm is derived from a kinship to traditional American music.

The concert starts at 3 p.m. at the Bayside Performing Arts Center, 2025 Kehoe Ave. It will be preceded by a lecture at 2 p.m. For information, click here, or call (650) 366-6872.

Ragazzi preview

Ragazzi Boys Chorus presents “On Tour from A to Z,” a concert featuring repertoire from the group’s upcoming summer tour to Australia , New Zealand and the United States . Under the direction of associate conductor Julia Simon, the chorus will perform songs from around the world — from the South Pacific, Australia , and Maori-inspired music of New Zealand . Choral masterpieces from America , works by Hogan, Copland and Thompson, also are on the program. Choreographed pieces include “Accentuate the Positive,” and music by Ray Charles.

The concert is at 5 p.m. June 16 at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 178 Clinton St. , Redwood City . Tickets are $10 to $25. For information, click here, or call (650) 342-8785.

Peninsula Girls Chorus Spring Events

The Peninsula Girls Chorus presents two spring concerts this month. “A Living Song,” featuring music by composer David L. Brunner, is at 3 p.m. Sunday at the United Methodist Church , 1443 Howard Ave. , Burlingame . The show also will feature the premiere performance of “Fear No More” by graduating senior Justine Drennan.

The girls preview selections from their upcoming tour to Colorado in “Tour Farewell Performance”at 4 p.m. June 16. That perfomance is at the United Methodist Church , 675 Winchester Blvd. , Campbell . For more information and tickets, call (650) 347-6351 or email office@peninsulagirlschorus.org.

jgross@examiner.com

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