Chamber orchestra takes audiences on musical voyage this weekend
Who: The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs with soloists Paul Nagem and Ian Buckspan
When: 7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Broadmoor Community Church, 315 Lake Ave.; First Christian Church, 16 E. Platte Ave.
Tickets: $20, $17 seniors, $5 21 and Under; 633-3649, chamberorchestraofthesprings.org
Something else: Detailed program notes at the orchestra’s website
One more thing: Pre-concert lecture starts 45 minutes before each concert.
Music and sea journeys have been inextricably linked for centuries. From Beethoven and Mendelssohn’s “Calm Seas and Prosperous Voyage” concert overtures to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” symphonic suite, music has been used to portray the tempests and tranquility not only of sea voyages, but life voyages as well.
The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs' November concert series is a voyage of contrasts, familiarity and new destinations, including five “musical ports of call” that feature the orchestra’s wind section, concertmaster, and two guest artists from the Colorado Springs Philharmonic wind section.
See "Voyage on the Winds" Saturday and Sunday. A preconcert lecture by former Colorado College vocal-music instructor and Pikes Peak Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Martha Hopkins Booth starts 45 minutes before each concert.
The musical cruise begins immediately with the passion and excitement of Beethoven’s "Egmont Overture," written for Goethe’s play, “Egmont." The piece begins with low forceful intensity which transitions through to triumphant, brassy glory.
New to the Colorado Springs audience is Max Reger’s “Hermit Playing the Violin” from “Four Tone Poems after Arnold Böcklin." Reger was inspired by the art of Swiss painter Böcklin, and composed music based on themes depicted in the artwork. The lyrically beautiful music, which is played by orchestra concertmaster Jacob Klock, depicts a solitary hermit playing his violin — but yet not totally isolated as there are angels drawn by the pure sweet notes. Hearing this haunting melody, audience members can almost draw the painting in their hearts.
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, a familiar work, comes to brilliant new life under the fingers of virtuosic artist Ian Buckspan. This piece provides opportunities for a dialog between soloist, conductor and orchestra that is the foundation of excellent chamber music. This could be one of the last times that Colorado Springs will hear and see Ian because he is making plans to sail away to new horizons.
John Corigliano, an Oscar-winning contemporary composer, creates a piece of “grace and measure, richness, quietness, and pleasure” in his instrumental reworking of a choral piece to create the “Voyage for Flute and String Orchestra." The work, which was commissioned by Sir James Galway, will be heard live in the Springs for the first time. It's played by Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s principal flautist, Paul Nagem. Known for his virtuostic skill and hauntingly beautiful tone, Nagem is an audience favorite.
This musical voyage closes with the music by Johannes Brahms, titled “Variations on a Theme by Haydn," although scholars now believe that it was a student of Haydn’s who actually composed this beloved theme. The work opens with the chamber orchestra winds and brass playing the theme and from there, eight imaginative, uniquely crafted variations follow. It is left to the audience to wonder, in the vein of a much later work, Elgar’s "Enigma Variations," if these variations are tributes to Brahms’ closest friends and loved ones.
Charlease Bobo is is a past president of the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs.