Orchestra celebrates American century


August 10, 2000|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The music of 20th-century America will figure prominently in the Columbia Orchestra's 2000- 2001 concert season.

Conductor Jason Love has organized the orchestra's musical offerings around a succession of compositions that reveal the country's artistic personality in all its multifaceted splendor.

The arresting brass and percussion figures in Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" will open the season Oct. 21 at Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts, 5460 Trumpeter Road.

That evening's concert will also include the stirring, reverent "Lincoln Portrait," in which the composer's uniquely evocative harmonies accompany the spoken words of the nation's 16th president.

January's concert will feature the "Second Essay for Orchestra" by Samuel Barber, whose unabashedly emotional, neo-romantic works have grown increasingly attractive to late-20th-century ears tired of cacophonous assaults from the avant-garde.

Barber crafted three such musical "Essays," each a short, tightly argued symphonic movement that moves expeditiously through a variety of emotional states.

It is fitting that John Corigliano's "Pied Piper Fantasy" appears on the orchestra's next bill, in March, because Corigliano is a contemporary heir to Barber's legacy of accessible, deeply felt modern romanticism.

Written for the irrepressible James Galway, perhaps the world's most famous flutist, the "Pied Piper Fantasy" is a witty musical take on the story of the most celebrated woodwind player to appear in the town of Hamelin.

Flutist Allison Potter joins the Columbia Orchestra as the "piper" soloist.

The American theme continues through the season's final concert in May with John Adams' lurching, bumpy "Short Ride in a Fast Machine." Adams may be one of our "minimalist" composers these days, but often there's maximum fun to be had in inventive, colorful works like this one.

Lovers of the mainstream symphonic tradition will be pleased that the long, singing lines of Johannes Brahms' 2nd Symphony open the season in October and will be followed in January by the feisty but always elegant "Prague" Symphony of Mozart.

The rapid-fire, tongue-twisting entrances of the symphony's outer movements are difficult enough to test the dexterity of an orchestral player of any pedigree.

The churning emotions of Russian romanticism come to the fore when the orchestra closes its season with Tchaikovsky's galvanic 5th Symphony.

Other soloists appearing with the orchestra this season are Baltimore violinist Ronald Mutchnik, who plays Mozart's sunny G major Concerto in January, and pianist Inna Faliks, winner of the 1999 Yale Gordon Prize, who complements Tchaikovsky with Rachmaninoff's impassioned "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" in the final concert.

As always, several talented young soloists will join Maestro Love and his players when the orchestra presents the winners of its Young Artists Competition in March.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.