NEC Symphony + David Loebel: Mussorgsky, Jennings, Simon

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

NEC Symphony, directed by David Loebel, performs Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and the Prelude from Khovanschina, Five Miniatures from Greenwich Village by Jesse R. Jennings '25 DMA - winner of NEC's  Orchestral Composition Competition, and The Block (2019) by Carlos Simon.

This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here

  1. Modest Mussorgsky | Introduction from Khovanshchina (Dawn on the Moskva River)

    Program note

    The calm serenity of the Introduction to Mussorgsky’s opera Khovanshchina belies the opera’s turbulent plot. It takes its title—which translates to “The Khovansky Affair”—from Ivan Khovansky, a seventeenth century prince who led the opposition to Peter the Great’s ascension to the throne. With its basis in Russian history, Khovanshchina followed in the footsteps of Mussorgsky’s better-known historical opera, Boris Godunov.
            Begun in 1872 as Mussorgsky’s homage to the bicentennial of Peter the Great’s birth, the opera remained unfinished at the composer’s death. Rimsky-Korsakov created the first performing edition, and it is in his orchestration that the Prelude is heard this evening.
    - David Loebel

  2. Jesse R. Jennings '25 DMA | Five Miniatures from Greenwich Village (2020)

    World premiere

    Fourth Street Station
    Minetta Street
    Sullivan Street
    Washington Square

    Program note

    Five Miniatures from Greenwich Village is my love letter to the Village. Each movement provides a brief glimpse into a different part of the area. The first movement (“Fourth Street Station”) evokes the energy and craziness of the subway stop at W 4th St. Small fragments of music jolt between one another abruptly and depict the random sights and sounds of the station. The atmosphere becomes tranquil and fluid in the next movement (“Minetta Street”), which represents an afternoon walk through a little street which, although jammed in the middle of a busy area, is somehow rather quiet and empty. The central movement (“Bleecker”) brings with it a nocturnal mood, and the sounds of the city mingle together into a unified tapestry. Against this backdrop is set an improvisatory trumpet solo which reflects the internal monologue of a lone night owl. The music becomes more cinematic in the fourth movement (“Sullivan Street”), and a romantic scene takes place between a couple dining at a table on the sidewalk. A nocturnal air again dominates in the fifth movement (“Washington Square”), where many disparate scenes and visuals are encountered as one walks from one side of the park to the other. Fragments from the previous three movements appear like people trying to talk over one another, and a dialogue occurs between the timpani, mallets, and harp. The noises start softly, come to a climax at the fountain in the middle of the square, then taper off on the other side of the park.
    - Jesse R. Jennings

  3. Carlos Simon | The Block (2018)

    Program note

    The Block is a short orchestral study based on the late visual art of Romare Bearden. Most of Bearden’s work reflects African American culture in urban cities as well as the rural American south. Although Bearden was born in Charlotte, NC, he spent his most of his life in Harlem, New York. With its vibrant artistic community, this piece aims to highlight the rich energy and joyous sceneries that Harlem expressed as it was the hotbed for African American culture.
            The Block is composed of six paintings that highlight different buildings (church, barbershop, nightclub, etc.) in Harlem on one block. Bearden’s paintings incorporate various mediums including watercolors, graphite, and metallic papers. In the same way, this musical piece explores various musical textures which highlight the vibrant scenery and energy that a block on Harlem or any urban city exhibits.
    - Carlos Simon


  4. Modest Mussorgsky | Pictures at an Exhibition

    orchestrated by Sergei Gorchakov

    Introduction: Promenade
         Il vecchio castello
         Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells
         Samuel Goldenberg and the Schmuyle
         Marketplace at Limoges
         Catacombae, sepulchrum romanum
         Con mortuis in lingua mortua
         Hut on Fowl's Legs
         Great Gate of Kiev

    Program note

    Maurice Ravel’s is by far the best-known orchestration of Mussorgsky’s piano work Pictures at an Exhibition, but it is not the only one. In fact, there are over twenty other orchestrations, three of which predate Ravel’s. Of the many adaptations for forces other than symphony orchestra, two enjoyed notable popularity in the 1970s: Isao Tomita’s arrangement for Moog synthesizer and a version for rock band by Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
            Soviet-era composer Sergei Gorchakov’s orchestration dates from 1954. Like several other such arrangements, Gorchakov’s corrects various errors found in Ravel’s version due to the latter’s reliance on Rimsky-Korsakov’s sanitized edition of Mussorgsky’s original. Gorchakov also restores the “Promenade” movement between “Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle” and “Limoges” that Ravel omitted.
            Although Gorchakov’s skill as an orchestrator certainly cannot approach Ravel’s in terms of subtlety, brilliance and imaginative combinations of instrumental colors, his version is notable for its dark, massive sonorities and authentically Russian character.
    - David Loebel


    NEC Symphony

    First Violin
    Yirou Zhang
    Joseph Zamoyta
    Abby Reed
    Minkyung Kang
    Ryan Tully
    Yeji Hwang
    Audrey Weizer
    William Kinney
    Tara Hagle
    Ashley Tsai
    Ravani Loushy Kay
    Emma Servadio
    Eleanor Markey

    Second Violin
    Sofia Skoldberg
    Jeremiah Jung
    Joanna Peters
    Aidan Daniels
    HyoJeong Hwang
    Ian Johnson

    Kevin Kang
    Tzu-Ya Huang
    Isabella Sun
    Maxwell Fairman
    Ava Kenney
    Kearston Gonzales


    Pharida Tangtongchit
    Rita Hughes Söderbaum
    Charlie Picone
    Nina Dawallu
    Harry Graham
    John Turner
    Haobo Bi
    Dylan Cohen
    QingHong He
    Jiashu Yin
    Yu-Heng Wang
    Jessi Kaufman


    Alex Aranzabal
    Amelia Allen
    Phoebe Chen
    Mina Kim
    Yue Mao
    Austin Topper
    Angela Sun
    Ching-yu Tseng
    Nahar Eliaz
    Li-An Yu
    Zanipolo Lewis
    Ari Freed
    Eric Schindler

    Alyssa Peterson
    Isabel Atkinson

    Brian Choy
    Dennis McIntyre
    Lawrence Hall

    Sadie Goodman §  
    Amelia Kazazian ‡^
    Anna Ridenour  
    JouYing Ting
    Nina Tsai *

    Anna Ridenour ‡

    JouYing Ting §

    Yuhsi Chang *
    Rebecca Mack ‡^  
    Victoria Solis Alvarado §

    English horn
    Yuhsi Chang

    Sarah Cho *§
    Evan Chu ‡^    
    Itay Dayan

    Zeyi Tian

    Bass Clarinet
    Hyunwoo Chun

    Daniel Arakaki ‡^
    Yerin Choi
    Zilong Huang *  
    Erik Paul §

    Daniel Arakaki

    French horn
    Elijah Barclift §
    Mattias Bengtsson  
    Mauricio Martinez *
    Xiaoran Xu ‡^  

    Maxwell DeForest § 
    Sebastián Haros  
    Alexandra Richmond
    Cody York ‡^  

    Becca Bertekap   
    Devin Drinan ^   
    Alex Russell §

    Bass Trombone
    Jason Sato §
    Shin Tanaka ^

    Masaru Lin
    Hayden Silvester ^§

    Ngaieng Lai §
    Rohan Zakharia ‡^   
    Mingcheng Zhou *  

    Isabella Butler ‡^
    Eli Geruschat
    Mark Larrivee  
    Rohan Zakharia *   
    Mingcheng Zhou

    Jingtong Zhang

    Taewan Gu ^
    Kevin Takeda


    Principal players
    * Mussorgsky Khovanschina
    ‡ Jennings
    § Mussorgsky Pictures