What Do You Think?


Part song and part social studies

For their recent concert at the Clarice Smith Center at the University of Maryland, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra had the standard instruments – strings, a few winds and brass, a banjo and electric guitar.


Bach in the saddle again

The Bach Sinfonia is dedicated to music written before Beethoven, played on period instruments (or modern reproductions).  In the course of 18 seasons, they have presented many lesser known works by both well-known and unfamiliar early music composers. 
So how refreshing that their recent concert at the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College was dedicated to their namesake: Johann Sebastian Bach.  Not only that, the concert programmed many of Bach’s best known works and gave several soloists a chance to shine.
But first, when is a concerto not a concerto.  The Brandenburg Concerto #3 is not what we associate with the modern concerto – a solo performer with orchestra.  Instead the all string section, one instrumentalist to a part, would play as a group, and then an individual section would go off for a while.  At times individual players had a moment in the spotlight, but quickly fell back into the main group.


Something Russian this way comes

At first glance, there was nothing unusual about the recent concert by the Baltimore Symphony at Strathmore.  It was an all-Russian concert under the baton of guest conductor Dima Slobodeniouk, making his BSO debut.  The program showcased works by Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich, so we all knew what we were in for.

Except we didn’t.


Not your typical stormy Beethoven

The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn was recently at George Mason University and appropriately performed an all-Beethoven concert (Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770).  However, if you were expecting a typical stormy Beethoven concert where the composer shakes his fist defiantly at the heavens all evening, you were in for surprise. 


Get Bach to where you once belonged

For their recent concert at Strathmore, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem sang like angels, but they made for less impressive pagans.

And you need some of both for the major work they performed recently at the Strathmore Music Center.  Felix Mendelssohn never composed a mature opera, but his dramatic oratorio “Elijah” gives us a good glimpse at what an opera from this composer would have sounded like.  If the composer never gave us an opera, he did give us one the most popular choral works of the nineteenth century. 


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