South Bend Symphony’s pairing: Yanov-Yanovsky and Beethoven

Posted on: March 6, 2020

“South Bend Symphony Music Director Alastair Willis has a point of reference for when he conducts ‘Musica Nostalgica’ on Sunday: himself,” writes Andrew S. Hughes in Thursday’s (3/35) South Bend Tribune (IN). “He and the Illinois Symphony Orchestra commissioned Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky to write the piece, and Willis conducted its world premiere in 2015 while he was that orchestra’s music director. ‘To revisit it again is like checking in with a best friend,’ he says about the work that opens the South Bend Symphony Orchestra’s [March 8] concert…. Yanov-Yanovsky wrote [‘Musica Nostalgica’] in memory of fellow Uzbek composer Albert Malakhov, an influence on him who died young, at 33. ‘I hear sadness and nostalgia in some of the melodies,’ Willis says…. ‘On one level, they’re beautiful symphonic melodies, and on another, they may be actual tears for Albert Malakhov.’ There’s no weeping in the concert’s other work: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 … which Willis … calls ‘one of his most purely joyful pieces.’ … The concert marks this season’s third and final in Willis’ and the SBSO’s three-year ‘Living Beethoven’ series…. ‘To be lifted with the joy and happiness of Beethoven’s Fourth makes it a great pairing’ with ‘Musica Nostalgica,’ says Willis.”