By Tabitha Hogue
The young and brilliantly talented violin soloist Annelle Gregory will be performing the Korngold violin concerto with the Santa Monica Symphony (SMS) this Sunday, December 3rd in Barnum Hall at Santa Monica High School. The 7 pm performance, which is free to the public, will give the community an opportunity to savor this California-based violinist’s virtuosic and expressive musical talent.
Annelle Gregory performed another American violin concerto, the Barber concerto, for a packed house at SGI Auditorium earlier this year in January, during the SMS’ 2016-17 concert season. Since then, she won the top prize at the national Sphinx competition in Detroit and has been touring as a soloist, performing with top orchestras across the country.
She is excited to be returning to perform with the SMS again and especially excited to be performing this piece, which she discovered accidentally about seven years ago when it happened to be on the same album as something else she had downloaded.
“The beauty of the melodies and the poignancy of the harmonies was striking,” she remarked. “Some of it sounded like a Hollywood film where the hero rides off into the sunset, other parts reminded me of Stravinsky’s Firebird, and still other parts sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. But the whole concerto was amazing and unforgettable, and I promised myself that one day I’d perform it with orchestra.”
The composer of the concerto that Gregory will be performing, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, was born in Austria at the turn of the 20th century and came to America in the mid-1930’s to write film scores for Hollywood. He composed brilliant soundtracks for numerous films starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, such as Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood. According to Lamell, Korngold’s Violin Concerto is “one of the most beautiful concertos ever written for the violin.”
“Korngold brings some of that Hollywood tradition and a little bit of that Hollywood sound to the violin concerto, but in such a sublimely beautiful way that in a sense it’s the highest expression of the Hollywood tradition that I can imagine,” Lamell said.
In addition to the Korngold violin concerto, the Santa Monica Symphony will perform Gioachino Rossini’s overture, La Gazza Ladra, which translates to “The Thieving Magpie.” Lamell, who is also a violinist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, describes it as “one of the most fun things I’ve ever played” and said this light-hearted and fast paced work will show-off the virtuosity of the SMS better than almost any other work.
The final item on the program is Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1, which is less famous than Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, but is nevertheless very striking.
“It is characterized by magnificent orchestral power and innovative orchestrations with a distinctly Scandinavian flavor. The long-building lines lead to grandiose themes and tremendous climaxes. Truly, this is an awesome Symphony!”
For more information about the upcoming concert, please visit www.smsymphony.org.