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Museum music tickles two senses

February 08, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- With a taste of classical music amid a touch of art, ears and eyes celebrated together Sunday.

The West Shore Piano Trio performed Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Schubert at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown's City Park.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra occasionally arranges small concerts at the museum, benefiting patrons of both types of art, said Jennifer Smith, an assistant curator at the museum.

Music lovers get a nice venue and maybe a first chance to see the museum.

"Plus, art and music just go so well together," Smith said.

Jay DeWire, the trio's pianist, said the free one-hour show intentionally offered different styles and tempos.

He described Rachmaninoff's Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor as big and heavy, while Schubert's Piano Trio in B flat Major was light and fanciful.

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DeWire said Rachmaninoff's youth and liveliness come through. Schubert, though, was ambitious, nearing the end of his life.

The Schubert composition had variations unto itself. It moved from allegro moderato (moderate joyousness) to andante un poco mosso (a quick walk) to scherzo allegro (playful joking) to allegro vivace (lively joyousness).

Laurina Gee of Westminster, Md., appreciated the contrasts and the just-right length of the concert after watching in the front row with her grandsons, 7-year-old Caleb and 4-year-old Collin.

She and the boys were among about 100 people in the audience.

Gee, a former Hagerstown resident who teaches piano in Carroll County, Md., said Caleb and Collin are developing an interest in music, so Sunday's show was good for them.

"It gives them a chance to actually see the musicians," their faces and their fingering, she said.

DeWire joined with Diana Flesner, the trio's cellist, at Harmonia School of Music & Art in Oakton, Va., where they both taught.

Flesner had already met violinist Heather Haughn through a mutual friend who knew them in San Francisco, where they lived at different times.

Flesner said she relishes chamber music for "the interwoven lines."

DeWire said he enjoyed the crowd, the piano and the conditions at the museum on Sunday, including a painting of a spring scene hanging on the wall behind him.

The concert room was "friendly to the strings," letting him project without overshadowing the violin and cello, he said.

Other performances in the MSO concert series at the museum haven't been scheduled yet, Smith said.

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