Friday, March 08, 2013

Humboldt Symphony Performs Beethoven’s Greatest Concerto

 Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, Handel’s familiar Water Music and a rarely heard piece that evokes the jazz age of the 1920s headline the Humboldt Symphony concerts at Fulkerson Hall on March 8 and 10.

 “Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ is his last and probably greatest concerto,” said Humboldt Symphony conductor Paul Cummings, “and one of the greatest ever written.” The Symphony performs the first movement, which at twenty minutes “is as long as some complete concertos,” Cummings added. “It uses a very full orchestra—strings and wind sections as well as horns and trumpets. Though the piano has virtuoso solo passages, it also engages in dialogue with the orchestra in a kind of call and response format.”

 As winner of the HSU student concerto competition, Levi Walls performs at the piano.

 “The Creation of the World” by Darius Milhaud reflects the artistic energy of 1920s Paris, as American jazz was becoming a European craze. “This piece is very challenging to play, very complex,” Cummings said. “Frankly it isn’t a piece we would normally play, and it may well be the first time it’s been played here. But it happens that this semester we have the perfect combination of advanced players on all the featured instruments.”

 Also on the program is Handel’s Water Music Suite, which contains many of his most recognizable melodies, Cummings said. “It’s a very popular piece with a nice musical flow.” 

 The Karelia Suite is a 19th century Romantic work by Jean Sebelius. “This is beautiful writing for the whole orchestra, characteristic of Sebelius,” Cummings said. “ It makes great use of French horns, with English horn, clarinet and oboe solos. The entire second movement is only strings and woodwinds, while the third movement is one of the more famous orchestra marches ever.”

 The Humboldt Symphony performs on Friday March 8 and Sunday March 10 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. $7/$3, free to HSU students. Tickets: 826-3928 or at the door.   Conducted by Paul Cummings, produced by the HSU Music Department.

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