• 63°

Review: Even tough crowds will be delighted by Salisbury Symphony’s April streaming performance

By W. Gerald Cochran

The Salisbury Symphony is now presenting its second performance of the season, entitled “PLAYUL Chamber Music” via internet streaming from April 5-11. The original performance was recorded on March 13 at the Norvell Theatre in downtown Salisbury, and what a spectacular concert it was. The concert is dedicated to Nancy Stanback in thanks and recognition of her long-time and valued support of the Salisbury Symphony. 

The program opens with the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major, BWV 1051, by  Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This concerto, the last of this set, is unusual in that there are no violins, just two violas, two violas da gamba, a cello, double bass and harpsichord. This unusual arrangement gives the two violas and the cello the main parts of the concerto with the other instruments in a supporting role. In this way, this concerto is one of the most striking of the Brandenburgs. The viola parts were expertly played by Timothy Gudger and Kathryn Middel, with Ryan Graebert on the cello. Violas de gamba were ably played by Holly Maurer and Liz  Burns. Mara Barker was on the double bass. Harpsichord was played by David Hagy.  

Jumping from the 18th to the 20th century, the group presented “Scherzo” by American composer John Cheetham (born 1939). Cheetham was a professor of music theory and composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia. “Scherzo,” composed in 1963, is a quintet for brass, and it has become one of the standard pieces in the brass quintet repertoire. It is upbeat and rhythmic, and was expertly played by Luke Boudreault and Mark Hibshman, trumpets; Chris Ferguson, trombone; and Ed Baity, tuba.  

Walter Piston (1894-1976) was an American composer who spent most of his life teaching at Harvard. His “Divertimento,” for nine instruments, was written in 1946, his first major composition after World War II. It shows more optimism than his previous works. It is scored for a woodwind quartet and a string quartet as well as a double bass. It was expertly played by Dan Skidmore and Laura Blankenship, violins; Tim Gudger, viola, Ryan Graebert, cello; Mara Barker, double bass; and Carla Copeland Burns, Anna Lampidis Glantz, Eileen Young, and Cory Jones, playing flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, respectively.  

For a change of pace, the group performed “Symphony of Rags” by Scott Joplin (1868-1917) as arranged by the Salisbury Symphony Music Director David Hagy for string quartet, double  bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, percussion and piano, with Amanda Sycamore on  percussion and David Hagy conducting from the piano. This is a medley of five of Joplin’s  works, providing a wonderful example of his variations in style, and exceptionally well played by the ensemble. 

Closing the program was “Introduction and Allegro” by the French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), written in 1905 to demonstrate a newly designed pedal harp. It features string  quartet, flute and clarinet, with harp as soloist in what amounts to a little concerto. The piece features poetic tenderness and sparkling animation. The harp playing requires exceptional virtuosity that celebrates the instrument in its full glory, and it was extraordinarily accomplished by Helen Rifas, who has been principal harp for the Salisbury Symphony for many years.  

This was an exceptional and markedly unusual program and one which should delight even the most discriminating audience. It can be viewed from April 5-11. Don’t forget: In order to view this magnificent concert, go to the Salisbury Symphony web site at salisburysymphony.org and click on “get tickets” under “PLAYFUL Chamber Music” or  call the symphony office at 704-216-1513.

Dr. W. Gerald Cochran lives in Salisbury.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

Crime

Convicted sex offender charged with having child pornography

Crime

Rowan County woman faces drug crimes for gas station incident

Crime

Blotter: Thousands of dollars in lumber taken from Newsome Road house

Local

Locals react to Chauvin verdict, reflect on work still to do

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works

Education

Enochville Elementary to host farewell event May 1

High School

High school softball: Carson beats West in a wild one

College

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will speak at NC State graduation

High School

Wonders, Trojans facing off Monday on Cannon Ballers’ field

Local

City approves two apartment developments, more than 160 new units

Nation/World

Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd’s death

News

Bill seeks to end pistol purchase permits from NC sheriffs

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 300th death attributed to COVID-19

News

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return