From Harlem’s Cotton Club to Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde

By Henry Adams

At the next Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concert, German conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing and The Florida Orchestra are joined by famed German pianist Peter Rösel to perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with its melodic inventions brimming with panache on this concert with Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1 and Berlioz’ orchestral tour de force Symphonie Fantastique.  These concerts will take place on Friday-Sunday, March 1, 2 and 3 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Enjoy complimentary coffee and doughnuts at the next Coffee Concert with Stuart Malina leading The Florida Orchestra in a program titled “Beloved Ballets” with music from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet and Stravinsky’s Firebird, among other works.  With the conductor sharing anecdotes about the music and the composers during the performance, this concert is Thursday, March 7, at 11 a.m., at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

At the next Raymond James Pops concert, it’s an all-star cast of trumpeter extraordinaire Byron Stripling, world-class tap dancer Ted Louis Levy and Count Basie songstress Carmen Bradford in a swinging salute to Harlem’s famed Cotton Club with It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing, Dinah, Minnie The Moocher, St. James Infirmary, Bill Bailey, Stormy Weather, Am I Blue, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, I Got Rhythm, St. Louis Blues and more.  Jeff Tyzik conducts these concerts on Friday-Sunday, March 8, 9 and 10 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

At the following Tampa Bay Times Masterworks, Stefan Sanderling conducts Mahler’s absolutely gorgeous song cycle, Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth).  Inspired by six Chinese poems, this extraordinary marriage of orchestra and song, with its blending of touching and heart-wrenching moments, is an expression of the desire to understand life’s melancholic beauty.  The concert closes with Haydn’s Symphony No. 45, Farewell.  Featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and tenor Vinson Cole, these concerts take place on Friday-Sunday, March 15, 16 and 17 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

The orchestra regularly performs at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Progress Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.  For concert details or to order tickets, visit www.floridaorchestra.org or call 727.892.3337 or 1.800.662.7286, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.