Annapolis Symphony to open with masterworks

Season to begin this weekend with Beethoven, Tchaikovsky

Arundel Live

September 21, 2000|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will open its 40th anniversary season this weekend at Maryland Hall with two of the masterworks of the symphonic repertoire.

Music director Leslie B. Dunner will be on the podium for the Friday and Saturday evening concerts, which will offer Beethoven's sublimely lyrical Violin Concerto in tandem with the galvanic Fourth Symphony by Tchaikovsky.

Playing the concerto will be Colin Jacobsen, a recent graduate of The Juilliard School, who at age 14 performed solo with the New York Philharmonic in Max Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy."

Now in his early 20s, Jacobsen is ascending the ranks as a virtuoso soloist, with featured appearances to his credit at New York's Alice Tully Hall and at the highly pedigreed festivals of Ravinia, Caramoor, Marlboro and Salzburg, Austria.

The concerto he will play this weekend is the most revered work of the violin repertoire.

Beethoven's D major Concerto of 1806 began its life as part of a party trick. The first soloist to play it, Franz Clement, interrupted it after one movement to play his own sonata on the single string of a violin that he was holding upside down.

After that inauspicious beginning, performances of Beethoven's masterwork were given in succeeding decades, but received little attention.

Finally, in 1844, a 13-year-old boy stepped onto a London stage and into history as he played each of the three movements with such grace and beauty that the player and the concerto entered the classical music pantheon.

Joseph Joachim, who became the greatest violinist of the 19th century, and the work, Beethoven's only concerto for the violin, have remained there since.

Every bar of Tchaikovsky's F minor Symphony bespeaks emotions rubbed raw.

The Russian composer crafted it in 1877-1878, as his life fell apart because of his brief but disastrous marriage to Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova. Tchaikovsky, a homosexual, came close to an emotional collapse.

The stormy symphony reveals those emotions and more. It opens with one of music's darkest fanfares, a commentary on the role of fate in human affairs that returns several times to underscore its forceful inevitability.

The second movement, "Andantino," is a wistful, melancholic affair leading to an upbeat Scherzo and a Finale that raises the roof with hopeful enthusiasm as it testifies to the resiliency of the human spirit.

"A thrilling case of nerves," said one critic describing Tchaikovsky's music.

Dunner has chosen to open the program with Joan Tower's "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman," a work for brass and percussion inspired by Aaron Copland's beloved "Fanfare for the Common Man." Tower has written five such works.

A talk at 7 p.m. will precede each of the 8 p.m. concerts.

Ticket information: 410-263- 0907.

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