Dark, swirling melodies and virtuosic escapades conjure up the tragic tale of a cellist and his beloved fiancé, whose spirit is known to reanimate when the work is performed.
*When performed with Soprano, the work is titled “The Haunted Concerto”; when performed without Soprano (and therefore not haunted), the work is titled, “Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra.”
Listen to the story of The Haunted Concerto:
There are several works of art that carry with them a legend of mystery…everything from the Mona Lisa to the great Sphinx of Egypt. The piece you are about to hear, the “Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra,” also carries with it a legend of mystery. You see, it has happened that, on occasion when this work is performed, the soprano, Antoinette Dumonde, seems to enjoy making an appearance on stage. The only problem is that Miss Dumonde was laid to rest over seventy-five years ago.
As the story goes, Matthias Turner, the cellist who commissioned the Rhapsody was in love with Antoinette, and she had every reason to believe that they would soon be married. They performed in recitals together across the country and on the eve of the premiere of this very Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, Matthias proposed to Antoinette. Tragedy struck, however. The nuptials were thwarted, for soon after the concert, Matthias was sent to Europe to fight in World War I, never to return. Antoinette died soon after of a broken heart. She was found clutching the manuscript to the Rhapsody: the last piece she had ever heard her beloved Matthias play.
It is said that when this piece is now performed, Antoinette returns to relive the happiest night of her very short, very tragic life. We make no promises, but we shall see this evening if Miss Dumonde once again rises to the occasion. One caveat: She apparently shields herself from being seen by the musicians, themselves, while making herself visible only to those watching the proceedings–so you must let us know afterwards if she did, indeed, visit our performance this evening! Here is the Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra by Lucas Richman.
It is the composer’s suggestion that the story be read prior to performances of The Haunted Concerto. The soprano should be amplified; indications are included in the score as to the soprano’s suggested stage positions. Ideally, makeup and attire used properly can enhance the “ghostly” experience, as well as the utilization of a follow-spot and dry ice.