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Augustana Symphony Orchestra: Life Cycles

The Augustana Symphony Orchestra and Augustana Chamber Orchestra present a program that evokes the stages of human life.


Giacomo Puccini, "Capriccio sinfonico"
Samuel Barber, "Essay No. 1"
Richard Wagner, "Siegfried Idyll" (Augustana Chamber Orchestra)
Jennifer Higdon, blue cathedral

"Capriccio sinfonico" is one of Puccini's very few works for the symphony orchestra. Written as a project during his final year at the Milan Conservatory, it shows Puccini in his youth, full of energy, ideas bursting forth in the form of exuberance and adolescent emotionality. Tunes from this work most famously reappear at the opening of his romantic opera "La Bohéme."

Barber wrote three essays for orchestra and this trio of works represent three stages of his compositional development. In many ways, his "First Essay for Orchestra" helped put Barber on the map of serious composers when it was premiered by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra.

Wagner wrote his small scale "Siegfried Idyll" as a gift to his wife, Cosima, and performed it for her on the morning of her birthday in 1870. This intimate work includes references to German tunes, depictions of the countryside, and music that would find its way into the composer’s epic "Der Ring des Nibelungen."

Higdon wrote "blue cathedral" in honor of her younger brother who had recently passed away and wishes for this piece to “[represent] the expression of the individual and the group…our inner travels and the places our souls carry us, the lessons we learn, and the growth we experience.”


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Chris Gauley

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