3 classical offerings

November 06, 2008|By Sarah Hoover | Sarah Hoover,Special to The Baltimore Sun

The fall concert season is action-packed this weekend with three diverse offerings for classical music lovers of all ages.

On Saturday, the Columbia Orchestra hosts its annual Young People's Concert, while Candlelight Concert Society presents the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. On Sunday, the Orchestra of St. John's makes its debut with a tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams.

For young folks, Saturday's performance of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Jim Rouse Theatre is a good bet. Inspired by his commitment to musical education for children, Prokofiev composed text and music to this 1935 symphonic fairy tale, which introduces the instruments of the orchestra.

The Kinetics Dance Theatre portrays the cast of human and animal characters in Prokofiev's story.

Also featured will be Russell Peck's Playing with Style, a symphonic work for children exploring the role of the conductor.

Chamber music aficionados might prefer the performance by the Los Angeles Piano Quartet at 8 p.m. Saturday at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center. The quartet, which will be joined by guest artist Nathan Farrington on double bass, will perform music by Steven Stucky, William Walton and Franz Schubert.

Founded in 1977, the Los Angeles Piano Quartet - made up of Michi Wiancko, violin, Katherine Murdock, viola, Steven Doane, cello, and Xak Bjerken, piano - has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio's St. Paul Sunday and at chamber music festivals throughout the world.

The group has championed works by contemporary composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Steven Stucky, whose "Piano Quartet" will be performed Saturday. This single-movement work was premiered by the Los Angeles Piano Quartet in 2005.

British composer William Walton wrote his only "Piano Quartet" as a 16-year-old university student, immersed in jazz and the Modernist movement. The influences of Stravinsky, Ravel and Vaughan Williams all can be heard in Walton's youthful, energetic quartet.

Closing the Los Angeles Piano Quartet's program is Schubert's effervescent "Trout Quintet," scored for the unusual combination of piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass. The quintet takes its name from Schubert's popular song "Die Forelle" ("The Trout") which appears in the work's fourth movement as a set of variations on the original tune.

Those curious about Howard County's newest musical organization might want to attend the inaugural performance by the Orchestra of St. John's at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City.

Commemorating both All Saints Day and the 50th anniversary of the death of British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, the program includes his "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," "Romance for Violin and Orchestra" and "The Lark Ascending," featuring violinist Ronald Mutchnik. This is unabashedly beautiful music, lyrical and lushly orchestrated.

Also featured are St. John's Church's choir members, handbell ringers and organist in Vaughan Williams' prelude on the Welsh hymn tune "Rhosymedre" and Morten Lauridsen's serene, contemplative five-movement requiem, "Lux Aeterna."

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.