• 48°

By Mary CatherineEdwards
For the Salisbury Post
The Salisbury Symphony drew an impressive crowd on Saturday night to their concert titled “Picture Books.” The concert was presented at Livingstone College’s Varick Auditorium. The program included Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons Concerti, Op. 8” and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, in E minor, “From the New World.”
Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” opened the program, showcasing four members of the violin section. Soloists in order were Alison Willet, Sarah Womak, Richard Wohlman, and Concertmaster Dan Skidmore. Conductor David Hagy rearranged the original order of the seasons in order to start in the present season of Autumn.
Highlights of the Vivaldi set were keyboardist Renee McCachrens’s caressing arpeggios in the somnolent “Autumn” Adagio, the shivering violins in the Winter Allegro, Richard Wohlman’s sparkling tone throughout “Spring,” and Dan Skidmore’s deft conjuring of “thunders and flashes” in the Summer Presto. Skidmore’s leadership in the Summer Concerto brought clarification to flourishes of the string section. Special mention goes to principal cellist Ann Selletti for her sensitive continuo support throughout.
Vivaldi provided his own sonnets describing the scene for each season he was portraying with his musical score. The sonnets were projected on screens in Italian and English translations during the performance along with nature photos, cartoons, and Bruegel paintings. For some, the slide show may have distracted from Vivaldi’s masterful command of sound effects, and the familiar fast-slow-fast movement format juxtaposed with his own sonnets would have sufficed.
Hagy conjured up some of the best images of the evening with the romantic Dvorak symphony. The familiar spiritual tune in the largo movement was played with soulful strains by oboe soloist Anna Lampidis Glantz and accompanied by reverent strings. Hagy brought the scherzo together with robust rhythmic sequences and skillfully molded swells. The brass section fulfilled expectations in the jubilant finale, “Allegro con fuoco,” which portrays the promise and excitement of a new country on the verge of a new century.
The last picture of the evening was an enthusiastic Salisbury audience rising to a well deserved standing ovation for a hard working orchestra.

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