Chamber Orchestra to play premiere of 'Flamingo'

May 07, 1991|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff

Two years ago Anne Harrigan, conductor of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, heard and loved a very jazzy piece called "Snap!" played by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She met the composer, Michael Daugherty, that night through a friend, composer John Harbison.

The next day the three visited the National Aquarium. Outside, they talked about Daugherty writing a piece for Harrigan's orchestra. Harbison suggested applying for a grant. The first try failed but the second one hit pay dirt.

Recognized as a developing musical talent, Daugherty wrote what he called "a postmodern flamenco dance" called "Flamingo." Harrigan's group will play its world premiere at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium, thanks to the underwriters, the Composers/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program.

"It's very derivative of Spanish music," a nine-minute confection with lots of lively elements, Harrigan said. Percussionists Larry Reese and John Locke play "stereophonic tambourines" from different positions. Trumpeter Ted Jones is among brass soloists.

One oddity of the Harrigan-Daugherty collaboration is that they thought they had seen each other before. It took more than the first meeting to figure out they had studied at the Yale School of Music at the same time but never spoke. "Graduate school's pretty intense," she said.

Daugherty is a winner of the Friedheim Competition at the Kennedy Center. The BSO will play some of his music again next season and has commissioned another work for the following year.

Also on the program is Richard Strauss' expressive Horn Concerto No. 2, written as one of his last pieces when the composer was 78 and wanted to remember the joys of his youth. David Bakkegard, principal BSO horn player, is the concert's featured soloist.

Lastly, the orchestra plays Mozart's Symphony No. 39, written in five days (Daugherty wrote his "Flamingo" on and off in a year). Harrigan said the piece is notable among other things for Mozart's use of the clarinet (played Wednesday by Nikki Hecker) instead of his usual oboes.

Tickets are $12 and $7 for the orchestra's last concert of the season. Call 528-0440.

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