An Italian Evening in Brookland

We walked over to The Catholic University of America’s Heritage Hall on Sunday night for “An Italian Evening,” a concert hosted by Catholic University’s Chamber Orchestra and the Italian Cultural Society of Washington, DC.

Kendall Waters describes Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony:

“Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony was composed not to introduce uniquely Italian melodies and forms to the rest of Europe but rather to provide the composer’s impressions of what he experienced during his Italian travels. What each movement might have been intended to represent, of course, is subject to speculation. The first movement, which opens with one of the most recognizable symphonic melodies in the repertory, seems to swoop and skip like leaves in the wind. The second, contemplative and solemn, might call to mind a religious procession such as those Mendelssohn witnessed in Rome. The third movement is more restrained than the boisterous fist movement, but it retains the light sweetness of the symphony’s opening. The final movement is a marked departure from European art music convention. Instead of utilizing an expected musical form, Mendelssohn labeled this movement a saltarello, a folk dance from southern Italy. By ending the Italian Symphony with a saltarello, Mendelssohn demonstrated that the use of folk music idioms could be an effective tool in a composer’s toolbox.”

The concert program:

Preludio to Act I of La traviata (Giuseppe Verdi)

Marionette (Teresa Procaccini)
Allegro spiritoso
Tempo di Valzer
Allegro brillante

Concerto No. 2 in B minor for Double Bass (Giovanni Bottesini)
Allegro moderato

Symphony No. 4 “Italian” (Felix Mendelssohn)
Allego vivace
Andante con moto
Con moto moderato
Saltarello – Presto