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MSO presents

June 20, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Da da da da dah, dum, dum, dum dum

Da da da da dah, dum, dum, dum dum

Hear it?

The Blue Danube is coming to a night under the stars in Hagerstown.

That's right. Elizabeth Schulze will conduct the Maryland Symphony Orchestra in "A Night in Vienna," Saturday, June 22, at 8 p.m. in a concert under the stars at Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Amphitheater.

The evening will feature the music of the Strauss family - Johann Strauss Sr. and his sons Johann - the "Waltz King" - Jr., as well as Josef and Edward. There will be overtures, marches, polkas and, of course, waltzes.

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The Strauss music is "infectious, joyful, entertaining," Schulze says.

There is humor and great beauty in the music - music that was popular in 19th-century Vienna, with as many as 10,000 couples dancing in four or five pavilions in a single night, she says.

The music still is popular. More than a billion - yes, billion - people watch the Vienna Philharmonic's internationally broadcast New Year's Day concert of Strauss music, Schulze says.

She will introduce each of the evening's works, providing a running narrative to accompany the music of the Strauss dynasty.

And an interesting story it is.

The patriarch, Johann Strauss Sr., was the son of a dance- and beer-hall operator. A performing violinist and conductor, Strauss Sr. organized his first orchestra in 1826 and toured successfully in Europe.

Strauss, the father of six, did not want his sons to follow in his musical footsteps. He eventually left his family - a great scandal, Schulze says - and started a new family of seven children with a woman who was not his wife.

The Strauss father and sons composed hundreds of pieces of music. Their public was demanding.

"They had to write new music all the time," Schulze says.

The music of the Strauss family was immensely popular, but it also was highly regarded by more serious composers of the period.

In response to a request for an autograph on a woman's fan, Johannes Brahms wrote out the first few bars of Johann Strauss Jr.'s "Blue Danube," adding "Alas, not by Johannes Brahms," Schulze says.

Edward Strauss, the youngest of the three brothers, conducted his own orchestra, and in 1827, followed Johann Jr. as director of the Vienna court balls.

Like his father and brothers, he composed music, but also is known for burning - by agreement with his brothers - well over 1,000 unpublished compositions, Schulze says. The 19th-century equivalent of three moving vans of manuscripts were burned in 1906.

This year marks the second season of performances at the 670-seat Alumni Amphitheater, says Jamie Shyda, HCC college activities specialist.

"It's really a wonderful place," says Leonid Sushansky, MSO's concertmaster, who also performed at the amphitheater last summer as a member of the orchestra's string quartet.

The acoustics were fairly good, and the sound guys were very competent, he says. He compares the outdoor venue to a "little Hollywood Bowl."

Schulze is anticipating an enjoyable evening of beautiful music.

"You can't help but tap your foot - even sway - to the music," Schulze says.

Concertgoers are more than welcome to take their partner by the hand and swirl to the music on the lawn at the amphitheater, Schulze says.

Johann Strauss Jr. - Zigeuner Baron Overture "Gypsy Baron Overture"

Unter Donner und Blitz, Op. 324 "Thunder and Lightning Polka"

Kaiser Waltz, Op. 437 "Emperor Waltz"

Johann Jr. and Josef Strauss:

Pizzicato Polka

Wiener Blut "Vienna Blood"

Johann Strauss Sr. - Radetsky March

Intermission

Josef Strauss - Sphrenklnge, Op. 235 "Music of the Spheres"

Edward Strauss - Mit Vergngen "With Pleasure"

Johann Strauss Jr. - Wein, Weib und Gesang, Op. 333 "Wine, Women and Song"

Tritsch Tratsch Polka

Josef Strauss - Dorfschwalben aus Osterrich, Op. 164 - "The Village Swallows"

Johann Strauss Jr. - Perpetuum Mobile, Op. 257

An der schnen blauen Donau, Op. 314 "The Blue Danube Waltz"

"A Night in Vienna"

If you go


Music under the stars with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m.

Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Amphitheater

11400 Robinwood Drive

Hagerstown

Tickets cost $20; $15 for children and full-time students. Groups of 15 or more may purchase discout tickets for $15 each.

For information, call the MSO box office at 301-797-4000.

The MSO box office, 13 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown, will be open Saturday, June 22, from noon to 4 p.m. Telephone purchases will be held at "will call" at the amphitheater box office, which will open at 6 p.m.

Available tickets may be purchased at the concert.

If inclement weather should cancel the performance, ticket money will be refunded.

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