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Concert repertoire is inspired by paintings and drawings

March 18, 2004|by Elizabeth Schulze

This weekend, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra will present two performances of its final program in this season's MasterWorks concert series. These concerts, entitled "Music of the Canvas: Art by Music," promise to be exceptional events that are sure to thrill our audiences.

Our featured guest artist is a rising star in the music world. Maryland native Nicolas Kendall comes from a distinguished musical family. I had the pleasure of working with Nick when, as a teenager, he won the National Symphony Orchestra's Young Soloist Concerto Competition. He has gained international recognition through his selection as a Young Concert Artists Competition winner. His virtuosic brilliance and charismatic stage presence is sure to invigorate his performance of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.

Framing Kendall's performance will be two orchestral works inspired by paintings and drawings. Opening the program, Ottorino Respighi's "Botticelli Tryptich" musically evokes three paintings by the great Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli. Best known for his large orchestral works, "The Pines of Rome" and "The Fountains of Rome," Respighi uses his gift for imaginative orchestration to infuse each of the three musical paintings with the character and color of the originals.

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The last work on the program is an audience favorite and a standard in the orchestral repertoire. Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," arranged for orchestra by Maurice Ravel, guides us through a gallery of aural pictures. Inspired by the sketches, watercolors, stage designs and architectural drawings of his friend, the short-lived and little-known Victor Hartman, each movement of this work captures the scenes, moods and characters of his friend's work in both scope and detail. As listeners, we are allowed to walk alongside a remarkable musical personality and hear what he sees, catching glimpses of the sights and sounds of a time long past.




Elizabeth Schulze is music director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

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