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MSO covers range of moods

February 15, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Moods were mixed during the Masterworks III concert by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Sunday at The Maryland Theatre.

While the message was uplifting and humorous in Edward Elgar's "Cockaigne Overture," the tone turned deep and soulful in one of six British poems that came during Benjamin Britten's "Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings."

The sixth poem, "Sonnet" by John Keats, was about an attempt to calm a restless mind. During Sunday's Prelude, Keats' own troubles were discussed. Keats was diagnosed with tuberculosis and died at age 24, said hornist Joseph Lovinsky, who performed during Sunday's performance.

"Sonnet" was used to put "a beautiful hushed close" to the Britten segment, Lovinsky said.

Also performing with the MSO Sunday was tenor Scott Williamson, music director of the Virginia Chorale.

Williamson, who has been an associate conductor, chorus master and artist with Opera Roanoke since 1998, talked to the audience during Prelude about the acoustic effects that can be achieved by shouting in the middle of a valley. Williamson said that was the type of musical adventure he and Lovinsky would explore Sunday.

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MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze said the Britten segment would showcase the approach of all notes having equal weight, which was different than previous approaches to music during Britten's time.

"It changed the way music sounded in the 20th century," Schulze said.

Lovinsky is the principal hornist for the U.S. Army Band and Orchestra, the Army Brass Quintet, the MSO and the Washington Ballet.

Williamson is a much sought-after tenor and is the winner of the 2005 Center for Contemporary Opera's International Opera Singers Competition.

About 1,100 people attended Sunday's performance, MSO officials said.

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