University Symphony Orchestra to Give 'Reformation' Concert

The University of Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, directed by Robert Mueller, will present its first concert of the 2017-18 concert season. This concert, entitled "Reformation," is performed in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation of 1517, led by Martin Luther.

The orchestra will begin the concert with Franz Liszt's Symphonic Poem #3, Les préludes. As the most famous of Liszt's 12 symphonic poems, Les preludes stands as a perfect example of program music. The treatment of the poetic material—a poem by Alphonse de Lamartine—is suggestive and delicate using the story as a symbol that is expounded through pure lyricism in the symphonic form. While the piece only has a few basic themes, Liszt's use of a free form enables a continuous transformation of these themes through melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, timbral, dynamic, and tempo changes.

The second half of the program will include Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5, often called the Reformation Symphony. As an homage to the protestant reformation, Mendelssohn uses familiar Protestant hymns as source material for its themes. Ein' feste Burg is unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress is our God), used in the finale, is a hymn written by Martin Luther himself. The treatment of Luther's hymn starts with a solo flute singing out the melody before additional instruments join to fill the sound with rich and powerful harmonic structure. The piece climaxes with a grand, elevated theme of celebration.

The University Symphony Orchestra is made up of superior student musicians from throughout the University. The ensemble presents two concert per semester on campus, covering a wide range of repertoire from Bach through the present day, including the great masterpieces of symphonic literature. The USO can next be heard performing at the Walton Arts Center as part of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the UA Inspirational Chorale on Oct. 20.

Tickets for the Oct. 9 concert are on sale now through the Faulkner Performing Arts Center. Visit for tickets or to check other programming at the center. The USO will again take the Faulkner stage on Dec. 4 performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 and Bartok's Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion, and Orchestra featuring UAMusic's Tomoko Kashiwagi and Miroslava Panayotova on piano and Chalon Ragsdale and Fernando Valencia on percussion.


Justin R. Hunter, administrative specialist III
Department of Music


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