Concert is bouquet to supporters of music

CRITIC'S CORNER

Critic's Corner//Music

April 18, 2006|By TIM SMITH | TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

"It's time to say thank you to people who have done so much for the community," says Maryland composer and concert producer Vivian Adelberg Rudow.

She has organized a concert this weekend that will honor two guiding lights of the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust - director Sidney Sherr and assistant director Loraine Bernstein.

"Loraine asked me not to do it, but I told her it is not negotiable," Rudow says. "But I promised not to embarrass them. We'll keep it very simple and low-key."

Musically, the concert, which will be held Sunday at the Har Sinai Congregation in Owings Mills, is far from simple. It will feature the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Chorale, conducted by J. Ernest Green, in a rich program that includes Leonard Bernstein's choral masterpiece, Chichester Psalms, and a gem by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Serenade to Music.

The whole event can be considered a serenade to Sherr, Bernstein and the Gordon Trust, which has long provided financial support for cultural and educational endeavors throughout the Baltimore area.

The tribute program includes Farewell to Arms, a pacifist-leaning work for tenor and strings by underrated British composer Gerald Finzi; Alba and Ostinato for Contrabass and Orchestra by young American composer Tom Schnauber; and Journey of Waters II by Rudow.

The concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday at Har Sinai Congregation, 2905 Walnut Ave., Owings Mills. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-654-9393.

Hopkins Symphony

The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra welcomes much-admired flutist Eugenia Zukerman this week.

Zukerman, a frequent contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and author of the recent book In My Mother's Closet, will give a master class for flute students Friday.

The next day, in the same location, she'll play two works with the Hopkins Symphony - the 1918 Poem by American composer Charles Tomlinson Griffes and the 1961 Flute Concerto by the late Russian composer Moise Vainberg. The concert, conducted by Jed Gaylin, also offers music by Rimsky-Korsakov and Debussy.

The master class, open to the public, is at noon Friday, the concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, both at Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St. Admission to the class is free. For tickets to the concert, call 410-516-6542.

Schubert at Evergreen

On a balmy spring night ideal for perky songs about birds and flowers - and in a place where such songs would have been right at home, the whimsically decorated Bakst Theatre in the historic Evergreen House - an appreciative audience came to hear Schubert's emotionally grim Winterreise. It was one of the more rewarding events of the season.

In this song cycle, filled with icy imagery and the ache of a lost love (poetry by Wilhelm Muller), Schubert poured out an ever-astonishing wealth of melodic richness, treating the solo voice and the accompanying piano part with equal care and imagination.

The cumulative effect of the 24 songs can be stunning, with the very last notes haunting the ear for a long time as we are left with the pathetic portrait of an organ-grinder playing away in the cold, ignored by a village, except for snarling dogs.

Randall Scarlata sang Winterreise with exceptional sensitivity Friday night. The baritone did not have all of the technical resources for the assignment - his voice thinned out considerably when the volume rose - but had abundant interpretive ones to make each word and feeling register tellingly. Jeremy Denk was the elegant pianist.

On his own, Denk offered a vividly shaped, if sometimes imprecise, performance of Beethoven's C minor Sonata, Op. 111.

All in all, a memorable night with music that matters.

tim.smith@baltsun.com

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