b'against great resistance. When the chords resolve, the first violin section emerges with a searching melody, interrupted at several points by the same struggling chromatic chord motion. The climax of the opening section comes with a powerful cry of protest from the ensemble in rhythmic unison, before the music subsides back wearily to its sorrowful questioning. The texture and harmony of the middle section are more static, hovering around the new key center of F-sharp minor. This section features a lightly fluttering accompaniment in the violas/second violins, which supports a forlorn melody in the first violins. The cellos join the violins when this melody appears a second time, but the added voice only increases the feeling of desolation. The middle section concludes with a beautifully delicate passage, in which the violins play staccato sixteenth notes and tiptoe quietly away. The return of the opening material features the same pulling and pushing of the tempo that occurred in the beginning. The dynamic range moves from a whisper to a full voiced cry, filling the music with drama and pathos. This emotional intensity is part of what makes Puccinis writing style so well suited to opera and what makes it deeply satisfying to play. Puccini himself clearly saw the operatic potential of this material, since he used the two main themes of I Crisantemi in his opera Manon Lescaut, which had its premiere in 1893 and was his first unequivocal success. Manon Lescaut was the work that established Puccinis reputation as the successor to Verdi, poised to carry the flame of Italian opera forward into the 20th century. InstrumentationStringsDuration6.5~Nell Flanders, Assistant Conductor Princeton Symphony Orchestraprincetonsymphony.org/ 18'