It's been an auspicious inaugural year for the Chesapeake Youth Symphony and its conductor, Karen Deal. The ensemble is clearly off and running.
Their concerts have been well-attended and well-received. The orchestra serves an area ranging from Anne Arundel County to Queen Anne's County to as far south as St. Mary's County. Nearly 50 youngmusicians already fill its roster.
Next season will bring a regional piano competition, with winnersperforming concertos at the CYSO's winter concert.
The 1992 spring concert will feature a salute to the Chesapeake Bay and will include new works commissioned especially for the orchestra, as well as poetry and prose written about the bay by Maryland school children.
While further growth in the viola, percussion and bass sections is indicated, there is no doubt but that Deal and her enthusiastic young players are off to a fine start. Sunday's Maryland Hall concert proved as much.
Kids or no kids, Karen Deal does not believe in slumming when it comes to repertoire. Sunday's program included Beethoven's "Egmont Overture," a Vivaldi double flute concerto, Purcell's Suite from "The Virtuous Wife," and Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony." Not a runt in the litter.
Clearly the Baroque idiom best suits the CYSO aspresently constituted. It is a string-heavy orchestra at this point,so chamber-scale 17th- and 18th-century works like the Vivaldi and Purcell show the young players at their best.
The orchestra played them well indeed, with accuracy, energy and a sophisticated sense of the spunky dotted rhythms of the authentic Baroque style.
Mukhtar Ramsey, of the Baltimore School for the Arts, and Rebecca Krimins, ofAnnapolis High School, are talented flutists who sounded fine in theVivaldi. Cellist Erika Lessey and harpsichordist Bee Elvy provided astylish continuo for the soloists.
What the orchestra needs is a brass section. It has two talented French horn players and the talented trombonist, Nils Fredland, did yeoman work in the first movement of the "unfinished." But, oh, how the CYSO needs trumpets, along with some additional horns and trombones.
There have to be some talented area brass players with "chops" serious enoughto negotiate this wonderful repertoire. The triumphal conclusion to "Egmont," for example,positively screams for those trumpet fanfares that, alas, were not there. Let's hope some audition for next season.
But, a few such holes aside, both the overture and the Schubert symphony were quite impressive. Strings in "Egmont" exhibited plenty of snap and bite and many of those taxing and sustained phrases in the "Unfinished" were spun out admirably. Excellent work from the horns in Movement II, by theway.
To the "powers that be" at the Chesapeake Youth Symphony -- when you do get those trumpet players, I want "Egmont" again.
For any trumpet players, violists, trombonists percussionists or other talented musicians who might be reading this, call 269-0848 or 987-1363to arrange auditions for next season.