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'The Star-Spangled Banner' opens MSO's 24th season

October 16, 2005|By KATE COLEMAN

Music Director Elizabeth Schulze strode onto The Maryland Theatre stage Saturday night and waved the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and the nearly full house to their feet for "The Star-Spangled Banner," opening the MSO's 24th season, her seventh in Hagerstown.

The program began with the overture to Carl Maria von Weber's opera "Der Freischutz."

Then, soloist Rachel Barton Pine arrived with her violin, an instrument made by Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu in Cremona, Italy, in 1742.

The violin, described by Schulze as "a really rare and very special instrument," is more than 200 years older than the 30-year-old Pine.

It is known as the "ex-Soldat," so called because it was played by Marie Soldat-Roeger, a woman who was a member of Johannes Brahms' inner circle.

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Pine performed Antonin Dvorak's "Violin Concerto" with the orchestra. Pine was 15 or 16 when she had learned the 10 standard concertos of a violin soloist repertoire, she said during Prelude.

The Dvorak was the first that Pine learned when her teacher gave her a chance to choose one.

"It's so beautiful," Pine said .

Her audience seemed to agree, calling her back to the stage for a standing ovation after her performance.

Pine said she was happy to be back in Maryland, adding that she previously had played the Dvorak concerto with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Pine joked that she wants people to know that she plays other music.

Pine then played an encore, a piece she composed - variations on the national anthem of New Zealand.

"Fantastic," Fayetteville, Pa., resident Jeannie Maloney said of Pine's performance.

"She is amazing," Marlene Falke of Hagerstown said. She and her husband have been season ticket holders since the orchestra's beginning.

Falke considers it "fantastic" that performers of Pine's caliber play in Hagerstown.

The second half of the program featured Johannes Brahms' "Symphony No. 4," a work Schulze described as "perhaps my favorite symphony."

Charlotte MacDougall will have a second chance to hear it this afternoon.

A season ticket holder for several years, she also attends the MSO's Saturday night performances if friends have an extra ticket.

At intermission Saturday, MacDougall said Pine was great and asked how old the violinist is.

"You just wonder how they do it," she said.

If you go


What: MasterWorks I: "A Delightful Season Opener" with violinist Rachel Barton Pine

When: Today, 3 p.m.

Where: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

Cost: Tickets cost $20 to $72 for adults and are available at the theater box office before the concert beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Music Director and Conductor Elizabeth Schulze will be the host for Prelude one hour before the concert. She will talk about the program's composers and music. The half-hour presentation is free for ticket holders.

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