What Keeps Me Awake, a probing and wandering soundscape by Puerto Rican-born Angélica Negrón, DSO’s Composer-in-Residence, opens the program. A perfect complement to Holst’s searching epic, this mesmerizing and effusive work brims with invigorating emotion.
What Keeps Me Awake is followed by Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto-esque work, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Using Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 as the inspiration for an ingenious theme and variations for piano and orchestra, Rachmaninoff creates the 1934 equivalent of a pop-song sampling. Our soloist Olga Kern brings her virtuosic talent to this piece.
The program concludes with another popular classic. From the mighty Mars to the cinematic Jupiter, Holst’s The Planets has inspired sci-fi movie music for generations — most famously, Oscar winner John Williams’s The Imperial March from Star Wars. Holst’s interstellar blockbuster launches with Mars: The Bringer of War, but pulsing drums give way to Venus: The Bringer of Peace. This sweeping epic concludes quietly with Neptune as the women of the Dallas Symphony Chorus lend haunting off-stage vocals in an other-worldly ending certain to induce chills in the Meyerson.