PRESS RELEASE: Obsessions Fill Symphony Hall

Obsession: Mendelssohn & Berlioz

DULUTH, Minnesota – The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra is kicking off the second half of their 19-20 season with a night of obsessions.

What: Obsession: Mendelssohn & Berlioz Masterworks III
When: Saturday, February 1, 2020 – 7 pm
Where: Symphony Hall at the DECC

Music Director Dirk Meyer and the DSSO are ready to jump into the second half of the season! The night will begin with the DSSO’s very first performance of Michael Daugherty’s Red Cape Tango. Composed in 1993, Daugherty explained that he composed this to represent Superman’s fight to the death with super villain Doomsday. His chosen melodies are derived from “Dies irae,” a Medieval Latin death chant. A tango-like rhythm can be heard through the piece as the horns, strings, and winds banter with the percussion section.

The evening carries on with Felix Mendelssohn’s iconic Violin Concerto. Concertmaster, Erin Aldridge joins us as the soloist who will bring to life this romantic piece. Aldridge expresses her thoughts on Violin Concerto, “it is such a beloved piece because it combines the clarity and brilliantly accessible melodies of the classical period with the emotional tendencies of the romantic period…in other words it is the best of both worlds. The Mendelssohn is an absolute staple of the violin concerto repertoire, it is one of those pieces that when you are young, you strive to play, and when you finally reach the point of ability to do so, you know it was completely worth the wait.” Mendelssohn took to complete this work, with the premiere taking place in 1845 and it was an instant success. His work features innovative elements, for instance, in many classical works, the orchestra has an extended introduction before the soloist begins to play, but Mendelssohn introduces the violin solo almost immediately.  Unlike many concertos that are broken into separate sections, also known as movements, Mendelssohn connected his movements melodically leaving no noticeable pauses.

A favorite among audiences, Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique closes out the night. Deeply obsessed with an Irish actress named Harriet Smithson, the composer uses an Idée Fixe—a repeated idea—that appears in all five movements and changes in subtle ways to represent the woman at the center of his obsession. Described by Leonard Bernstein as the first example of psychedelic music (and indeed, Berlioz may have been indulging in opium during this time), “Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip; you wind up screaming at your own funeral.” In the program notes for Symphonie Fantastique, Berlioz wrote, “[it] tells the story of an artist’s self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman. The symphony describes his obsession and dreams, tantrums and moments of tenderness, and visions of suicide and murder, ecstasy and despair.”

Click here to listen to the evening’s programming.

This concert is a powerful combination of modern and classical and is sure to leave you in obsessive wonder.

Tickets start at $22 and are available for the best deal through the DSSO Box Office – 130 W Superior Street Suite LL2-120, 218-623-DSSO (3776). Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the DECC Ticket Office – 350 Harbor Drive, or at (taxes and service fees do apply). Student and military tickets are available for $10 with a valid ID.

For more information about the 2019-20 season visit