Joana Carneiro takes up the baton again tonight, Thursday, April 1, when the Berkeley Symphony performs a triple bill: Jorg Widmann's “Con brio”, in its West Coast premiere; Samuel Barber's Knoxville, “Summer of 1915”, sung by exquisite soprano Jessica Rivera, the Symphony's artist in residence; and Brahms' First Symphony.
Widmann, a young German composer and clarinetist, has been heard in Berkeley when Kent Nagano led the Berkeley Akademie last year in performing a Widmann piece--as he will May 20, with Widmann's “Versuch uber die Fuge” on a program that includes Beethoven's Quintet in E flat for Piano and Winds and Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A.
Barber, whose centennial year is being celebrated around the country, is finally receiving his due as a great American composer, and a great composer of song in particular. “Knoxville, 1915” is from what Barber referred to as a prose poem in James Agee's novel, A Death in the Family.
Brahms' sketches for his First Symphony date from 1854. It was not completed until 1876. The middle movements have reminders of Beethoven; the last movement's first theme sprang from the composer's reflections on John:14:10--"I am in the Father, and the Father is in me."
8 p.m. April 1 at Zellerbach Hall. www.berkeleysymphony.org or 510-841-2800.