Brahms’ majestic Third Symphony and music from Stravinsky’s exotic ballet, The Firebird, will bring the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s 27th “Season of the Masters” to a conclusion. Principal trumpeter William Denton, will be the soloist in Ernest Bloch’s Proclamation, which will open the concert.  The HHSO performance, under the direction of Music Director Mary Woodmansee Green, will take place at Hilton Head’s First Presbyterian Church on Monday, May 4, at 8 pm.  
    “Brahms’ symphonies are the culmination of the symphonic form that stretched back to Haydn and Mozart,” said Maestra Green in announcing the concert.  “His Third was named by some critics as ‘Eroica, and is considered to be his greatest symphony.  In total contrast is Stravinsky’s exotic Firebird, his most popular orchestral work.”  
    William Denton is in his third season as principal trumpet with the Hilton Head Symphony and the Savannah Orchestra.  He has a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina and served in the U.S. army for eight years performing with the prestigious Army Field Band.
    Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch was born in Geneva, studied violin and composition in Switzerland and Germany, and emigrated to a small town in Oregon.  His Jewish heritage is apparent in most of his music.  Proclamation, composed in 1955, begins with a shofar-like call to attention followed by music which is at times mournful, declamatory, scolding, and militaristic, ending on a conciliatory note.
     Today Johannes Brahms is considered a master of large orchestral forms such as symphonies and concerti, but he came rather late to the symphonic form, completing his First Symphony at the age of 43.  The first performance of his 1883 Third Symphony was a complete triumph, and it has since stayed in the mainstream symphonic repertoire.  His Third Symphony shows how abstract music, with no outside associations, can be meaningful and immensely moving.
    Russian music was the rage in Paris during the early 20th century, and in 1909 Russian ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev decided to commission Firebird, a ballet on Russian themes for his new company, from the 28-year-old Igor Stravinsky, a circumstance that would change the course of music.  His next masterpieces – Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, would follow, all with imaginative music in colorful orchestration.  Stravinsky’s 1919 Firebird suite, heard in this concert, is the most popular of all his orchestral pieces..  
    Concert tickets are $20, $30, and $40.  Call the Hilton Head Orchestra Box Office at (843) 842-2055 to purchase tickets, or log on to the orchestra website at  American Express, Master Card and Visa are accepted; tickets may be purchased at the door.  Program Notes are posted on the website prior to each concert.