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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

San Antonio Symphony's Dvorak Festival Is Finally Here

San Antonio Symphony
Sebastian Lang-Lessing

Next Friday the San Antonio Symphony’s month-long Dvořák Festival begins. An enthusiastic Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing describes Dvořák’s cello concerto as an outstanding one, and "probably also is the most popular cello concerto ever written."

For the Dvořák debut, the symphony is bringing back Chinese cellist Jian Wang.

"He’s looking forward to coming back to San Antonio this season, and we are looking forward to kick off the festival with him," Lang Lessing said.

It all starts with the spirited "Carnival Overture."

"Then Dvořák’s '8th Symphony,' [which is] probably his most mature symphony pre-New World," Lang Lessing said.

They’ll be performing the "New World Symphony" later on in the festival, on February 7,8.

"It’s very intense music, no moment to relax, and it goes now for the next five weeks for the orchestra is hyper intense, there’s no question about it," Lang Lessing said.

Lang-Lessing just got back from Eastern Europe, so I asked him: "You’ve just returned from Belgrade—does being in Eastern Europe give you a contextual appreciation for Dvořák?"

"Absolutely," he said. "Serbia has been bombed so many times -- and especially Belgrade -- but the people are actually very happy people because they have a rich culture that they can go back to. And they’re very proud of that."  

I asked Lang-Lessing to describe what can people expect from the music.

"It’s really emotionally-driven music," he said. "A rich, orchestral color, exploring instruments such as horns and brass in a new way, especially different from the classical period. A lush, full, rich-bodied sound. It’s a little bit like going from merlot to a rich-bodied cabernet sauvignon."

I’ll drink to that!

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii