For its upcoming concert, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra visits two sweeping mid-20th century pieces: Sergei Prokofiev's 1944 piece, Symphony No. 5, and Alan Hovhaness' Symphony No. 2, "Mysterious Mountain," written in 1955. Following the German invasion of Russia in 1941, prominent Soviet artists, including Prokofiev, were forced to flee Moscow. Following a turn in the war, Prokofiev was able to return to Moscow in 1944 and set to work on Symphony No. 5, which he considered "the culmination of an entire period in my work. I conceived it as a symphony on the greatness of the human soul." The work, in four movements, is grand in scale and exhilarating, to say the least. Similar in its epic scope, "Mysterious Mountain" made its premiere with Leopold Stokowski and the Houston Symphony — Hovhaness' biggest breakthrough by that point. (A Rochester connection: Hovhaness taught for three summers at Eastman.) The RPO will also perform Mozart's 1774 Bassoon Concerto, a popular piece for the bassoon. The concert will spotlight principal bassoonist Matthew McDonald in his first solo performance with the RPO. Case Scaglione will guest conduct.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Thursday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, October 25, at 8 p.m. Both concerts will be at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs Street. $16-$92. 454-2100; rpo.org.