Final MSO MasterWorks program of season hits highs and lows

April 24, 2010

HAGERSTOWN -- Before the Maryland Symphony Orchestra began its Saturday night performance of "Magnificent Mahler," its final MasterWorks program of the season, music director Elizabeth Schulze warned the audience they were in for a wild ride.

"There's sometimes chaos in the music and there's sometimes moments of incredible exultation, moments of extreme grief," Schulze said of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor. "You really are thrown into a carnival ride that goes up and down wildly through the house of horrors and the tunnel of love."

Concertmaster Robert Martin, who joined Schulze in discussing the works during a prelude, described Mahler's dynamics markings as "schizophrenic" and said he sometimes feels like he is in a school of fish when making such rapid and dramatic changes as a group with the rest of the 14-member violin section.

"What Mahler asks of us is really to go to enormous extremes on our instruments and to have tremendous flexibility of bow speed," he said.


The complex and emotional piece served as a grand finale not only to the night's concert, but to what audience members said was an outstanding concert season.

"We have had excellent music for years and years, but this season was marvelous," said Jerry Hammond of Hagerstown, a longtime MSO fan who brought his 6-year-old granddaughter, Brynn, to the concert.

Hammond said he used to take Brynn's father and uncle to theater events when they were about 7 and 8 years old.

"It's a way to introduce the kids to the arts, and we felt that this would be a marvelous opportunity," he said.

Season ticket holders Ben and Dee Chlebnikow of Hagerstown agreed that the MSO's 2009-10 season was particularly good.

A piano soloist at the MasterWorks IV concert was one of the season's biggest highlights, Ben Chlebnikow said.

Another season ticket holder, Richard Dougan of Cascade, said it was the entire atmosphere of MSO concerts, the music combined with The Maryland Theatre setting, that keeps him coming back season after season.

"I like the building," Dougan said. "You don't see this kind of architecture that much anymore."

The MSO will perform the show again Sunday at 3 p.m.

If You Go

What: Maryland Symphony Orchestra MasterWorks V, "Magnificent Mahler"

When: Sunday, 3 p.m.

Where: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

For information: Call 301-797-4000 or go to

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