Wind quintet Circa 1800 kicks off 'Noteworthy' music series at library

September 10, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Trying to play 19th-century music on modern-day instruments is like trying to paint delicately with a spray guy, says Paul Hopkins, a horn player with the Circa 1800 Chamber Winds quintet.

"The tone colors of historical instruments are different," says Hopkins, who's also a horn player in the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

That's the basic point Hopkins and his four fellow musicians hope to make as the openers of Washington County Free Library's Noteworthy Sundays music series.

Circa 1800 Chamber Winds performs 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at the downtown Hagerstown library. Noteworthy Sundays music series continues monthly through April.

In Circa 1800, each musician plays an instrument from the 19th century. The group formed in 2007, bringing together five kindred musicians who love playing on period instruments.


The quintet will perform a piece by Anton Reicha, whom Hopkins considers to be one of the most influential composers in the history of woodwind quintets. Reicha taught at the Paris Conservatory during the early 1800s.

Hopkins, 41, of New Market Md., is a product of Maryland public schools. He said he got his start as a trumpet player in fourth grade. He tried the French horn in middle school and never turned back.

Over time, Hopkins has developed an interest in historic instruments. He stumbled upon a natural horn, a French horn that doesn't have any valves, on eBay.

So what's missing from modern-day instruments?

Subtlety and nuance, Hopkins says. He likes to use paint analogies. With historic instruments, he says, "there's a broader palette of color."

About Circa 1800 Chamber Winds

Genre: Classical chamber music

Flute - Colin St. Martin

Oboe - Meg Owens

Clarinet - Richard Spece

Bassoon - Anna Marsh

Horn - Paul Hopkins

Upcoming show: 3 p.m., Sept. 13, Washington County Free Library, central branch, 100 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown


Noteworthy Sundays 2009-2010 schedule

Concerts are at the Washington County Free Library's central branch, 100 S. Potomac St. in downtown Hagerstown. Concerts start at 3 p.m. Seating is limited, so call 301-739-3250, ext. 136, to reserve your space.

Sept. 13 - Circa 1800 Chamber Winds, woodwind quintet

Oct. 4 - Too Human, jazzy blues

Nov. 1 - Charlie Zahm, Celtic music

Dec. 13 - Hot Soup, female trio

Jan. 10 - Andrew McKnight, folk

Feb. 7 - Christiana Drapkin and Mike Gellar, romantic jazz

March 14 - Homegrown String Band, bluegrass, folk

April 11 - Aca-Perco, a cappella and percussion duo

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