Arts Performing Arts

Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks 4 Set for April 9

Photo by Mike Morel

By Natasha Anderson

Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) presents Masterworks 4: Enigma on Saturday, April 9, at 8 p.m. in Thomas Wolfe Auditorium at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville. The program features Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, Brahms’ Tragic Overture and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

“Mozart’s D-minor concerto is famous for its dark and stormy character, an outlier among the generally sunnier disposition of his other works,” says ASO music director Darko Butorac. “This is why it is paired with Brahms’ Tragic Overture, another moody work in D minor, from which we musically journey to the glorious sunshine of the Enigma Variations.”

The beloved Piano Concerto No. 20 was composed in 1785 and premiered to instant acclaim. The piece remains one of Mozart’s most popular. Brahms’ Tragic Overture is a powerfully affecting work composed in 1880 as an emotional counterbalance to the relatively jolly American Festival Overture, which was completed the same year. Elgar’s Enigma Variations, composed in 1899, are a series of 14 short musical portraits, representing many of his family and friends. The profoundly beautiful Variation IX, known as Nimrod (a biblical reference), has become a staple of British Remembrance Sunday services, funerals (including that of Princess Diana) and celebrations.

“The Enigma Variations is a tremendous orchestral work, a musical portrait of Elgar’s family and friends painted with an incredible musical imagination, all wrapped up in the greatest mystery of symphonic music,” says Butorac. “The theme is never heard, but always present. Theories have ranged from God Save the Queen, to Rule, Britannia, Dido’s Lament or Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata, yet none have proven conclusive.”

Thomas Wolfe Auditorium is located at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville, at 87 Haywood Street. Tickets are $25–$70. Reduced youth and student pricing is available. For tickets and more information, call 828.254.7046 or visit

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