Greig concerto thrills concertgoers

November 13, 2005|By KATE COLEMAN

HAGERSTOWN - "Wow," said Jerry Falke of Hagerstown.

"You have to be young to play that piece."

He was talking about Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto, Op. 16 in A minor.

And he was talking about piano soloist Andrew von Oeyen, who played "that piece" on Saturday night with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra at The Maryland Theatre.

The concerto is an expression of youth and enthusiasm, Falke added.

Von Oeyen fit the bill.

The 25-year-old California native, tall and lanky, walked on stage and bowed almost shyly.

He then started to play. Not a hint of shyness. Sometimes he leaned back and stretched to the keys; sometimes he crouched close. His fingers often were a blur.


At the conclusion of his performance, there were whoops of approval and a standing ovation from the audience.

Schulze stretched out her hand to von Oeyen. They shared a hug.

Then, they turned and applauded the orchestra.

Shepherdstown, W.Va., resident Judy Jones said she and her husband, Stan Jones, had heard the same piece performed - very differently - two weeks ago at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

"This was melodic," Judy Jones said.

The performance, "A Select Scandinavian Offering," was the second MasterWorks concert of the MSO's 24th season.

The program opened with Swedish composer Franz Berwald's Overture to "Estrella de Soria."

Norway was represented in the Grieg concerto, and after intermission, Schulze would raise her baton on Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' Fifth Symphony.

Schulze invited musicologist and Sibelius expert Michael Holmes to speak about the composer and his work during Prelude before the concert. They had spent three hours on the telephone, going over the symphony note by note. They talked about the importance of swans - a musical theme - in the work.

Schulze played recorded selections to illustrate their comments.

She pointed out "the most glorious C major moment of all the world," and was moved nearly to tears by listening to the symphony she said she is privileged to be conducting for the fourth time.

If you go

What: Maryland Symphony Orchestra's MasterWorks II concert, "Romantic Scandinavian Masterpieces," with Andrew von Oeyen

When: Today, 3 p.m.

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

Cost: Tickets cost $20 to $72 for adults, $10 to $36 for full-time students and children 12 and younger and are available at the theater box office before the concert beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Music Director Elizabeth Schulze will host Prelude, which begins one hour before the concert. The half-hour presentation is free for ticket holders.

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