Luther College Symphony Orchestra to perform March 17

The Luther College Symphony Orchestra will present an early spring concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 17, in the Main Hall of the Center for Faith and Life. Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Daniel Baldwin, professor of music and director of orchestras at the college.

The concert is open to the public with no charge for admission.

The program will begin with a performance of the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, Op. 47. Senior music major Karla Dietmeyer—Symphony Orchestra concertmaster and one of two winners of the Department of Music 2012 Concerto Contest—will be the soloist.

After a brief intermission, the program will conclude with a performance of "Tod und Verklärung" ("Death and Transfiguration") by German composer Richard Strauss. Completed in November 1889, "Tod und Verklärung" is a symphonic poem for large orchestra. It is a splendid example of what is commonly known as program music, in which some extra-musical impulse, such as a story, painting or idea, plays an important role.

In "Tod und Verklärung," Strauss attempted to convey the smallest details of the story that inspired the piece.  According to the composer, the tone poem describes the last hours of a man—an artist—who has devoted his life entirely to the pursuit of high ideals. Strauss wrote:

"The sick man lies in bed, asleep, with heavy, irregular breathing; friendly dreams conjure a smile on the face of the deeply suffering man; he wakes up and is once again racked with horrible pain; his limbs shake with fever. As the attack passes and his pain subsides, his thoughts wander through his past life; his childhood passes before him, the time of his youth with its strivings and passion; then, as the pain begins to return, there appears to him the fruit of his life’s journey, the ideal which he strove to realize, to present artistically, but which he has not been able to complete, since it is not for man to accomplish such things. The fatal hour approaches, the soul leaves the body to find in everlasting space those things gloriously achieved which could not be fulfilled here below."

The composer considered this scenario vital to an understanding of the work; his friend and mentor Alexander Ritter expanded this description into a 62-line Romantic poem that was later printed with the published score.