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Concert to feature 'Organ Symphony'

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Apr 30, 2019 at 11:00 AM

MANSFIELD — Under the batons of music director Octavio Más-Arocas and choral director Brian Nabors, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra will join forces with more than 100 singers from the symphony chorus and the Shelby Chamber Choir to perform “Fin Magnifique.”

The performance will be at 8 p.m. May 11 at the Renaissance Theatre. The concert, presented as a part of the OhioHealth Symphony Series, will feature the moving “Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré and the Renaissance’s Mighty Wurlitzer Organ in “Symphony No. 3 in C minor,” “The Organ Symphony,” by Camille Saint-Saëns.

“Requiem” is one of the best-known large works of Fauré, a French composer. The seven-movement work is scored for soprano and baritone soloists, sung by Rachel Skiba and Brian Johnson, choir, orchestra and organ, played by Shawn Dawson.

“Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest,” Fauré once wrote of the work. 

Fauré wasn’t a religious man (his son once described him as a ‘skeptic’), but he managed to create a masterpiece which embodies the fear-free nature of death.

The second half of the performance will feature Camille Saint-Saëns “Symphonie No. 3” “avec orgue” (with organ). A masterpiece of the late 19th century, the “Organ Symphony” features brilliant orchestral writing characteristic of the Romantic period.

“I gave everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished, I will never achieve again,” Saint-Saëns said about it. 

This was indeed true, as it was the composer’s last attempt at the symphonic form. The work isn’t a true symphony for organ; however, two of the four movements include the use of a pipe organ. Once again, the Mighty Wurlitzer will be used and performed on by Dawson.

One hour prior to the concert, 7 p.m., the wildly popular “Symphony Chat” will be held in the Renaissance Ballroom. This free talk is led by music historian Mark Sebastian Jordan, whose insights will transform the way you think about the music you will hear later in the evening. Free hors d’oeuvres by Dan Lew Exchange, free dessert by the Women’s Guild of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra and half-price wine and beer will enhance your experience. Seating is limited.

The concert will also include an interactive app called EnCue. During “Symphonie No. 3,” patrons will be encouraged to open the app and enjoy the concert like never before, with pictures and insights synced with the music. This free app is available on in the App Store or on Google Play.

Tickets are on sale now online at MansfieldTickets.com and at the Renaissance box office for the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra’s “Fin Magnifique.” This concert is presented with additional funding from the Ohio Arts Council.

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