Beethoven, and Bach: Familiar fare still thrills

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Howard Live

October 14, 2005|By EILEEN SOSKIN | EILEEN SOSKIN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Bach and Beethoven; Beethoven and Bach. The Columbia Orchestra, conducted by Jason Love, is starting the concert season tomorrow night at the Jim Rouse Theatre with a beautiful program beneficial to all listeners.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 is probably the signature piece for classical music. Its opening motive (ta-ta-ta-tum) is probably familiar to most people older than age 5. Its power and sweep define romantic music (this piece is most evocative of the picture of Beethoven with wild, unruly hair).

Critics sometimes complain that they have to listen to still another Beethoven's Fifth, but, in spite of themselves, they report time and again being swept away by the music.

The tiny motive from which grows a monumental symphony deservedly remains one of the best-loved symphonies because of its motivic coherence and rhythmic drive.

A live performance is infinitely more exciting than a recording of the best orchestra in the world. This music is meant to be heard and felt in person.

Bach's six Brandenburg Concerti are among his best-loved and most famous instrumental works. The second concerto features four soloists - on trumpet, flute, oboe and violin, soprano instruments on which virtuosic music is played, sometimes in solos, though often in pairs.

This is typically toe-tapping Baroque music, especially the fast outer movements, exhibiting great energy and relentless forward motion. The middle movement, scored lightly for three of the soloists (flute, oboe and violin) with support from the low strings and keyboard, tosses its melancholy melodies back and forth among the soloists, sighing and breathing deeply with expression.

The soloists, all members of the Columbia Orchestra, are Elaine Newhall (flute), Carl Reynolds (trumpet), Lindsey Spear (oboe) and Brenda Anna (violin).

The icing on the cake will be blue cathedral, composed by Jennifer Higdon, a composer on the faculty of the Curtis Institute who has received recognition and commissions. Her music is colorful and exciting, and is sure to hold your interest and complement the energy and beauty of the other pieces on the program.

Bold programming attracts beaming listeners, which you will be if you step out and allow yourself to be thoroughly entertained by the Columbia Orchestra.

The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, call 410-465-8777 or go to columbia orchestra.org.

Piano recital Sunday

Howard Community College presents a Spotlight Recital by David Wasser, pianist, at 4 p.m. Sunday, at the Smith Theatre on the HCC campus. The concert is being underwritten by the Humphries Company, and is presented free of charge to the public.

Mr. Wasser, a resident of Columbia, is a graduate of the Juilliard School and studied piano at the University of Maryland, College Park, later earning a business degree in accounting and becoming a certified public accountant and chief financial officer and vice president of finance for a company in the area.

Mr. Wasser's passion for performing has beckoned again and, after a 25-year hiatus, he has again taken up his career as a professional musician.

Mr. Wasser's ambitious program includes Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Schubert's Impromptus, Op. 90, and all six of the Paganini-Liszt Grandes Etudes. These are technically challenging pieces that will delight with their sentiment and range of color.

For information, call Kris Suter, a member of the piano faculty of HCC and Mr. Wasser's coach, at 410-772-4510 or visit howardcc.edu/music.

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