Classical music boosts listeners' brain functions and energy levels, which is why every child should ingest a well-rounded harpsichord each morning. Treat your noggin to a mellifluous meal with this GrouponLive deal to see Spano Leads Brahms, Mustonen Plays Respighi! with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. For $29, you get one ticket for dress-circle seating (up to a $73.04 value, including all fees). Choose from the following performances:
- Thursday, February 21, at 8 p.m.
- Friday, February 22, at 8 p.m.
- Saturday, February 23, at 8 p.m.
Doors open at 7 p.m.
The evening begins with Verdi’s buoyant overture to La Forza del Destino, whose prominent brass and woodwinds evoke a seesaw of uncontainable excitement and calm reflection, as strings carry a melancholy melody throughout the brief introductory work. The Concerto in Modo Misolidio by Ottorino Respighi follows, showcasing both the composer's love of traditional form and the unconventionality of soloist Olli Mustonen by embracing the rarely used ancient Mixolydian mode. In tensely rendered layers, the work builds a lush yet uneasy beauty with a strikingly alien quality. The evening concludes with Brahms's Symphony no. 2, a sweetly sentimental pastoral with morose overtones. Simple serenity reigns in the first movement as strains of Brahms's iconic lullaby rise from a clamor of bombast. From the opening overture to the majestic closing symphony, this concert presents an exercise in combining old and new, much like a baby-juggling nonagenarian.
Like a bat out of Helsinki, pianist-conductor-composer Olli Mustonen sets the symphony orchestra's piano aflame with the rarely played Respighi number Concerto in Modo Misolidio, which he made his own in a 2010 recording. Founder of the Helsinki Festival Orchestra and artist-in-residence at the Helsinki Philharmonic, the multidisciplinary maestro's rendition caught the ear of Geoffrey Norris at the Telegraph, who called the piece “a magnificent testament to piano opulence, fully expounded here by Olli Mustonen.”
Since coming onboard in 2001, conductor Robert Spano has led the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in connecting with contemporary composers, and, incidentally, winning six Grammy Awards. In March 2010, Spano began a three-year tenure at Emory University, where the Renaissance man currently lectures on science, math, philosophy, literature, and musicology. In the school's 165-year history, it has only extended such privileges to seven resourceful individuals, including the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, Salman Rushdie, and MacGyver.