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Stars shine in Hagerstown -- Kendall and Shostakovich

October 12, 2006|by ELIZABETH SCHULZE

This weekend at The Maryland Theatre, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 25th season's MasterWorks series with a blockbuster program you won't want to miss.

A young, rising star, violinist Nicolas Kendall, is back as a response to overwhelming popular demand. His performances with the MSO two seasons back had our audiences on their feet in a tumultuous ovation - and that was only after the first movement of his concerto. He hadn't even finished his performance! Needless to say, listeners will once again be in for a treat as Nick plays the powerful Violin Concerto by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Considered by many to be the most difficult of all the concertos written for the violin, Sibelius successfully combines virtuosic demands with beautiful, soaring melodies and vigorous dance rhythms in an effort to give the soloist every opportunity to display the ultimate in musicianship and technical mastery.

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Throughout 2006, orchestras around the world have celebrated the 100th anniversary of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich's birth with performances of his music. The MSO begins our program with the composer's "Festive Overture" in keeping with our own festive anniversary season. The overture was written to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the October Revolution, and it is fitting that Shostakovich borrowed a melody for this work from an earlier piece for piano, which he titled "Happy Birthday."

Our program concludes with one of the greatest symphonies of all time: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5. In this work, Tchaikovsky proves himself one of the true masters of symphonic form. At the same time, the emotional impact of the music is universal in its appeal. Tchaikovsky plumbs the depths of tragedy and climbs the heights of triumphant exaltation. Musician and listener alike are taken on an unforgettable musical journey that nourishes head and heart.

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