Works of Mozart, Barber on slate for Saturday

Violinist Mutchnik will be soloist for G major concerto


January 25, 2001|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It will be "Mozart and More" on Saturday evening when the Columbia Orchestra and its conductor Jason Love take center stage at Jim Rouse Theatre.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Prague" Symphony and G major Violin Concerto will be performed at the 8 p.m. concert along with Samuel Barber's "2nd Essay for Orchestra" - presented in keeping with the "American Century" theme of the orchestra's 2000-2001 season.

"People who don't necessarily love so-called `modern music' shouldn't be scared off for a moment by Samuel Barber," says Love, who will be conducting the 10-minute, single-movement "2nd Essay" for the first time Saturday. "We've all fallen in love with it. Just think of it as very, very late Brahms."

The soloist for the Mozart concerto will be Ronald Mutchnik, one of the metropolitan area's busiest and most talented violinists.

Mutchnik has served as concertmaster with the Maryland Symphony, National Chamber Orchestra and Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.

As a recitalist, he has appeared at the Washington County Art Museum in Hagerstown, Baltimore Museum of Art and the Johns Hopkins University's Turner Auditorium.

While truly one of "Maryland's own," Mutchnik also has performed as soloist with orchestras in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Minnesota. A resident of Columbia, Mutchnik is on the music faculty of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He maintains a large private studio as well.

"He's one of the hardest-working musicians I've ever seen," Love says. "We're lucky to have him with us."

Mozart himself was a fine violinist who, by all accounts, could have been a virtuoso of the instrument had he practiced more faithfully. The G major Concerto, K. 216, is one of five he composed for violin and orchestra. It is a bright, sunny work, especially notable for the sweet-sounding flutes brought on to accompany the warm, lyrical solo lines of the second movement.

The rapid-fire, tongue-twisting entrances of Mozart's Symphony No. 38, the "Prague" in D major, have been known to intimidate conductors and instrumentalists. But for all its technical difficulties, the "Prague"- as do all of Mozart's late symphonies - remains as irresistible as ever.

"Most composers would be thrilled to have even one or two of the ideas Mozart keeps coming in countless numbers," Love says. "And each idea maintains its own character in the overall drama of the piece. Nobody ever fit things together like he did. He was a born dramatist. Even his symphonies are pure drama."

The Columbia Orchestra presents "Mozart and More" at 8 p.m. Saturday at Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. For advance tickets: 410-381-2004, or visit the Music & Arts Centers at Chatham Station or Laurel. Tickets also may be purchased at the Columbia Association on Wincopin Circle in Columbia, or at the door. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens older than 65 and $9 for full-time students. Information or directions: Visit the orchestra's home page at, or e-mail the orchestra at Senior citizens needing transportation: 410-715-3087.

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