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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Classical Afternoon Delights

Racine Symphony mixes Baroque and Romantic eras

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The Racine Symphony Orchestra’s next Masterworks concert, “Afternoon Introductions,” presents light and beautiful music perfectly suited to a late-winter Sunday afternoon.

Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 7 in C Major (1761), called “Le Midi,” is the second of three sequential symphonies in which he follows the course of a typical day, though this particular work is actually less about an afternoon than it is about the symphonic and operatic styles of the late Baroque era.

With its lyrical melodies, Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor (1830) evinces the influence of the early Romantic era. The work’s final allegro is a stylized Polish folk song of the type Chopin was wont to utilize in his highly personal fashion. The Piano Arts North American Competition winner of 2012, Sahun Hong, joins the RSO as soloist for this piece.

Though on the winning side of World War I, France was deeply scarred, and as a result, many French artists either pushed the avant-garde envelope or nostalgically turned the clock back to simpler times. Representing the latter is Gabriel Fauré’s “Masques et bergamasques” suite (1919), the four-movements of which swathe listeners in the elegance and style of a remote period of lords and ladies.

The Racine Symphony Orchestra performs “Afternoon Introductions” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at the First Presbyterian Church, 716 College Ave., Racine. For tickets, go to racinesymphony.org.