• 50°

Salisbury Symphony demonstrates increasing reach of its repertoire

Writer

Dr. William Christie

William Christie is a former professor of linguistics and dean of the college at Catawba College. He is also a historian (“1941: The America that Went to War”) and at one time played a pretty mean jazz trumpet.

By William Christie For the Salisbury Post

 

One of the great pleasures of a long-time attendee of Salisbury Symphony concerts has been the opportunity to hear the continued maturation of the orchestra under the leadership of Maestro David Hagy. Maestro Hagy’s tenure here has been marked not just by steady growth in the artistic quality of the ensemble, but also by an expanded repertoire embracing less familiar and more challenging works.  Saturday’s concert reflected both aspects of the orchestra’s growth.

A solid and comfortable foundation to the program was provided by several pieces familiar from movies and the theater. In addition to Erich Korngold’s 1938 score to “The Adventures of Robin Hood “and John Williams’ “Hymn to the Fallen” from “Saving Private Ryan,” the audience responded enthusiastically to the finale to Rossini’s overture to “William Tell,” the familiar theme from the television program “The Lone Ranger.”

Toward the end of the program selected members of the All-County Band and the Youth Orchestra joined in with the regular section members of the orchestra. As in previous family concerts, the Fifth Grade Honors Chorus came on stage to perform “Thank You, Soldiers” by Souders and Souders and “The Impossible Dream” from “The Man of La Mancha.” The latter piece included passages that were a challenge to fifth-grade voices, and it was gratifying to hear how well the chorus met those challenges.

Diversity in style was provided in three pieces written and performed by Kyle Petty: “Hard Times,” “Movie Cowboys,” and “I Promise Always.” Petty gave us yet another sample of his talent and versatility with writing and performance of high quality. John Stafford’s orchestration, both accessible and well suited to the melodies, was exceptionally fine.

The increasing reach of the symphony’s repertoire could be seen in two pieces that provided the artistic pinnacle of the program. Aaron Copland’s seldom-performed “John Henry” (which, incidentally, also made a movie appearance in Spike Lee’s 1998 film “He Got Game”) is filled with rich textures in passages that gave high exposure to soloists from the wind and brass sections. The result was a rewarding and enjoyable performance.

The emotional peak of the evening had to be “Elegy for Anne Frank” by Lukas Foss, featuring the sensitive playing of Renee McCachren in the piano solo. The narration was gently and evocatively provided by Ava Holtzman, who is almost exactly the same age as Anne Frank was when she died at Bergen-Belsen and who will be playing the role of Anne Frank in the St. Thomas Players’ production later this month. The first section of the elegy begins with a quiet melody that passes into a simple tune, much like a nursery song, evocative of the innocence of childhood. It is cut off by the middle section, a hideously but fittingly distorted version of “Die Fahne Hoch,” the anthem of the Nazi party. Following the narration, a second simple theme emerges, truncated and soft, a mere hint of hope for humanity. The listener knows what has happened in the interval.

Maestro Hagy is to be thanked and congratulated for providing a musical afternoon that combined familiar pleasures with a wide cultural reach.

After a visit by the North Carolina Symphony on March 9, the Salisbury Symphony will offer three more concerts this year: the magnificent Verdi “Requiem” on April 9, a pops concert featuring the works of Gershwin on May 13, and the traditional Pops at the Post on June 3.

This orchestra merits the support of the whole community at all of these performances, and the audience will unquestionably find the programs thoroughly rewarding.

 

William Christie is a former professor of linguistics and dean of the college at Catawba College.  He is also a historian (“1941: The America that Went to War”) and at one time played a pretty mean jazz trumpet.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

Local

City makes some appointments to local boards, holds off on others to seek women, appointees of color

Education

Education briefs: RCCC instructor honored by Occupational Therapy Association

Local

Second quarter financial update shows promising outlook for city’s budget

Columnists

Genia Woods: Let’s talk about good news in Salisbury

Local

City attorney will gather more information for Salisbury nondiscrimination ordinance

Education

North Hills planning to hold May fundraiser in person

East Spencer

Developers aim to transform former Dunbar School site into multi-purpose community development

Education

Knox student organizing event to get community cycling

Education

Decision on Essie Mae charter appeal expected Thursday

Nation/World

House passes sweeping voting rights bill over GOP opposition

Nation/World

Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol

Nation/World

States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge

News

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper receives COVID-19 vaccine

News

North Carolina health officials urge schools to reopen

Crime

In letter, PETA criticizes Salisbury Police for K-9 video

Coronavirus

Three deaths, 29 new COVID-19 positives reported

Crime

Blotter: Bullet holes found in woman’s Park Avenue apartment

Crime

Man faces assault charges for domestic incident