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Cellist lableled 'great', fabulous' by concertgoers

February 12, 2007|by KATE COLEMAN

HAGERSTOWN - Cello soloist William De Rosa learned Antonin Dvorak's Cello Concerto on his own when he was 12 years old, while his teacher was on vacation. He's called it an "old friend."

He said he likes to think of "the king of cello concertos" as a symphony with a cello soloist.

His description of the piece approximately 45 minutes in length was apt.

His Sunday afternoon performance at The Maryland Theatre - from memory - drew applause after the work's first movement. The standing ovation at the concerto's close was enthusiastic and sustained.

De Rosa embraced his 1739 Italian cello. He embraced the music, at times closing his eyes, at others mouthing the drums' "ba ba ba bum." He nodded to Music Director Elizabeth Schulze and members of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and he smiled at associate concertmaster Joanna Owen as they shared a duet.

"Fabulous," said Mary Melvin of Greencastle, Pa., who was attending her first MSO concert.

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"I think he was very good," said first-year season-ticket holder Bob Cook of Frederick, Md. "I do like cello."

"I'm not a musical connoisseur, but I know what I like," said Betty Beckley of Martinsburg, W.Va. "I think he was great."

A season-ticket holder since the beginning of Schulze's tenure, Beckley added, "They're getting better all the time."

"It was beautiful," Hagerstown resident Julie Wilberding said. "I came because of the (Aaron) Copland."

She called the Dvorak concerto "a nice treat."

Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3 filled the program's second half. During Prelude, Schulze called it the greatest American symphony - "so far."

The symphony's third movement includes the familiar "Fanfare for the Common Man."

The stage was filled. There were extra trumpets. There was a piano. There were two harps, a xylophone and a gong among the instruments required for the work.

At the conclusion, the audience stood again, and applauded long and loudly.

Jackie Huffman beamed as she walked toward the exit at the afternoon's close.

"Fantastic," she said. "One of the all-time best concerts ever."

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