Advertisement

Program elections are different as day and night

March 16, 2000

On Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra will present its final classical concert of the season at The Maryland Theatre. Our work will continue, however, as we prepare for our educational concerts for children in April, our July 1 celebration of Independence Day at Antietam National Battlefield and the 2000-2001 season.

cont. from lifestyle

For an orchestra of this size and length of season - nine programs in all - it is inevitable that the audience will discern real artistic growth from the first concert of the season to this last major performance in March. I am proud of how easily the musicians of this orchestra have developed a sense of true ensemble. The fact that they rehearse and perform together for only six or seven weeks throughout the year makes this achievement all the more remarkable. It has been an honor and a real pleasure to make music with these fine musicians.

Advertisement

The program for this concert contains two great works composed in times as different as night and day. Dimitri Shostakovich, surely one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, wrote his Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 99 (1947) under a cloud of terror. His music and his life had been called into question by Stalinist Soviet authorities. It is not surprising that this personal statement, filled with melancholy, desperation and final triumph, was not heard publicly until after Stalin died in 1953. The concerto is prized today for its musical and technical demands on both the soloist and the orchestra. It is symphonic in scope, emphasizing musicianship over showmanship. Despite its ominous beginnings, the final burlesque will leave you breathless with its wild and unrelenting dance.

Our guest artist, violinist Livia Sohn, is someone I've known since she was a 14-year-old student at Aspen Music School. Even then, this prodigious violinist showed great strength, poise and an absolutely astonishing technical mastery of her instrument. This is the second time we have collaborated on this concerto, and I know the audience will be impressed with her deep commitment to the music and her total control over its execution.

The Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73 (1878) by Johannes Brahms occupies the second half of the program. From the first notes of the horns, the audience will be transported from the harsh world of Soviet Russia to another realm where music reigns supreme and unmolested. Brahms completed his second symphony only a year after his first, over which he agonized for a decade. The effortlessness of the second symphony's completion has perhaps been overstated, but it is clear that Brahms was experiencing contentment in both his professional and personal life while composing this symphony in the summer of 1877. His ease seems to be reflected in the work, which moves from a sense of melancholy to that of outright joy. In the final movement, the orchestra occasionally seems to burst into laughter.

Music tells our stories, inner stories which are often inexpressible through words. This weekend's program reveals two very different musical experiences - each one powerful, profound and ultimately uplifting.




Elizabeth Schulze is Music Director of Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|