Symphony features famed violinist Lewis

The Greenwich Symphony will present acclaimed violinist Brian Lewis this weekend, when he will perform William Walton’s Violin Concerto.

Mr. Lewis has been described as an exceptionally dedicated and gifted performer, whose passionate artistry has been heard and embraced around the world. He has won numerous young artists’ competitions, including the Grand Prize in the Mid-America Violin Competition.

The Walton Concerto was commissioned and premiered by the great virtuoso Jascha Heifetz and holds a wide scope of emotion and drama. The opening movement for the violin is marked “sognando” — dreaming — and takes listeners immediately into the world of one of the 20th Century’s greatest lyric composers. The Concerto goes on to contrast moments of great drama, a brilliant scherzo and an energetic finale, which contains a remarkable accompanied cadenza, recalling the dreamlike quality of the beginning.

Also on the program is the Symphony in D minor (1888) of César Franck.

A quiet, reserved and unassuming man, Mr. Franck was widely recognized, not only as a great organist but also for his masterful skill at improvisation at the keyboard, which Franz Liszt compared to J.S. Bach. He was also an influential professor of music.

In 1871, following the Franco-Prussian War, Franck, along with Fauré, Lalo, Saint-Saëns and others formed a movement to return instrumental music to the mainstream in France, reducing the dominant role of opera. Many of his compositions have faded from public attention, but the later pieces, including the Symphony in D minor, are still heard in concert halls today and are considered masterpieces.

In the spirit of the season, the program also includes Christmas Concerto by Arcangelo Corelli, a piece written around 1690, and probably performed for the first time at Christmas of that year.

The concerts will take place on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. at Greenwich High School’s auditorium. A free, pre-concert lecture will be given by Associate Conductor Tara Simoncic one hour before each performance.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $10 for students. For more information, call 203-869-2664 or see Greenwichsym.org.

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