Annapolis Symphony energizes young audience

October 28, 1994|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Special to The Sun

A kiddie event usually is an opportunity for an orchestra to "mail in" a performance. But the Annapolis Symphony provided some pretty nice music Sunday at its Family Concert in Maryland Hall.

Clay Purdy, the ASO's recently appointed principal second violin, did a nice job with the bird calls in the "Spring" section of Vivaldi's concerto "The Four Seasons," while flutist Mary Beth Lewandoski seemed none the worse for wear after her heads-up sprint through the hyperactive "Badinerie" from the Second Orchestral Suite of Bach.

Trumpeter Jan Mager, a former Annapolis High School student who now is a sophomore at Baltimore's School for the Arts, soloed nicely in the taxing first movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. When this young man's endurance catches up with his gorgeous tone and excellent musicianship, the sky will be the limit.

There also was some enjoyable playing from oboist James Dale and clarinetist Fred Jacobowitz in the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Winds, though only a truncated version of the third movement was offered. But you have to wonder why the French horn player was there. They sliced out all his good stuff.

It was the perennially popular "Peter and the Wolf" that got everyone's attention, what with the engaging Ethel Ennis on hand to narrate and the colorful Bob Brown puppets acting out the story with great spirit and skill. How did the wolf wiggle his eyebrows like that, anyway?

The children in the audience seemed exceptionally well-behaved, though a few doltish parents' late arrivals displaced entire rows of listeners, disrupting Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart in the process.

As always at these things, there was great fun beforehand as children descended to the bowels of Maryland Hall to meet the players and their instruments up close. Flutes echoed birds, horns played wolves, and trumpeter Dan Orban, reddening like a lobster, tooted a baroque concerto that ended with a tremendous flourish.

And amid the cacophony, great wisdom was dispensed.

"The oboe is a wonderful instrument that carries great responsibility in the orchestra," a kindly oboist told a 9-year-old girl who recently began studying that supremely treacherous instrument.

"And it can get you college scholarships."

From her mouth to God's ears.

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