Friday, May 10, 2013

Fiddling Around with the Humboldt Symphony

 Humboldt Symphony will perform its carefully planned and well-rehearsed final concert of the year on May 10 and 12, with classics ranging from the 17th to the 20th centuries. But there will also be a surprise—even to conductor Paul Cummings.

 A student ensemble of fiddle enthusiasts is preparing its own medley. “There’s quite a movement in America for fiddle music, and these students are part of it,” Cummings said. “I don’t know exactly what tunes they’re doing, so I’m looking forward to being surprised. Every concert ought to have an adventure—something unexpected. This is it.” 

 The fiddle medley follows Percy Grainger’s Molly on the Shore, a string orchestra version of an Irish reel.

 The concert includes a suite based on the first real opera in western music history by Claudio Monteverdi, who is also sometimes credited as the founder of Baroque. “I agree with other scholars that if Monteverdi had lived 200 years later, he’d be of the same stature as Beethoven and Mozart,” Cummings said. “He was that accomplished a composer.”

Capriccio Espagnol by 19th century composer Rimsky-Korsakoff is “one of the great orchestral masterworks,” Cummings said. “It contains probably the most famous clarinet solos in the orchestral literature.”

 The main selection is The Creation of the World, a jazz inflected, Gershwin-like classic by French composer Darius Milhaud. It’s a “fascinating piece and an important work,” Cummings said, that is seldom performed partly because “it’s so difficult to play.” But this semester there was just the right combination of advanced players to perform it, so it became the main musical project. Now after all the hard work preparing it, why not fiddle around a little? 

 Humboldt Symphony performs on Friday May 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday May 12 at 3 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7/3, free to HSU students from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. Conducted by Paul Cummings, produced by the HSU Music Department. 

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal 

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