Letter V
Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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Jesse Mills, violin
James Wilson, cello
Mary Boodell, flute
James Ferree, French horn
Rieko Aizawa, piano
March 10, Boodell-Davis House

“The future of live music,” the BBC reported recently, is for people to have friends over and invite musicians to play concerts in their homes:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-39153751

Hmm, where have we heard this before? Those whose memories stretch back to the previous millennium will recall that there’s a genre called chamber music, and that it came by that name because, until fairly recently, it generally was performed in domestic settings. (Those with shorter memories are referred to an at-home musicale with tragic consequences in season 4, episode 3 of “Downton Abbey.”)

Each season in Richmond, the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia revives the genre’s roots by staging a couple of its programs in houses: a December baroque program at the Wilton House Museum and another chamber concert in a home large enough for the musicians to play to a smallish but not minuscule audience.

This time, the venue was the Fan District home that Mary Boodell, the Richmond Symphony’s principal flutist and a regular performer with (and current board president of) the Chamber Music Society, shares with her husband, Evan Davis, and their sons.

The selections were big enough in sound and scope, and the setting intimate enough – three dozen or so listeners in the house’s living room and front hall – to produce a truly enveloping evening of music-making.

The main attraction was Brahms’ Trio in E flat major, Op. 40, for piano, violin and French horn, not the most muscular of the composer’s chamber works, but in this setting, as played by pianist Rieko Aizawa, violinist Jesse Mills and horn player James Ferree, borderline-brawny in impact and deeply passionate in spirit.

The musicians played with technical assurance, expressive spontaneity and – remarkably, considering how assertively they played – fine balance among the three instruments.

A more in-your-face reading of Bohuslav Martinu’s “Madrigal Sonata” by Aizawa, Mills and flutist Boodell nearly cracked the sound barrier of the space in which they played, especially in the sonata’s opening movement, a busy construct with all three instruments emphasizing their high registers.

Dvorák’s “Silent Woods,” which cellist James Wilson, the society’s artistic director, played in a custom-made arrangement with piano, flute and horn, and the Elegie for violin and piano by the short-lived (1915-40) Czech composer Viteslava Kaprálová complemented each other musically – the Elegie is more Slavic-romantic than some of Kaprálová’s other works, which reflect French-impressionist influence – and complemented the performance space in warmth and intimacy.

The Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia presents “Brahms and Friends,” a free mini-concert of works by Brahms, Robert and Clara Schumann, Ferdinand David and Heinrich von Herzogenberg, 2 p.m. March 11 in the Gellman Room of the Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets. (Seating is limited.) Details: (804) 646-7723; http://cmscva.org
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The Richmond Symphony will hold open-house sessions later in the month on its Youth Orchestra Program, with introductions to its entry-level String Sinfonietta and intermediate-level Camerata Strings and Youth Concert Orchestra at 4:30 p.m. March 21 at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, 1000 Mosby St.; and an introduction to its advanced-level Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra at 4:45 p.m. March 28 at Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets.

Reservations are required to attend the sessions.

Prospective members and their parents are invited to bring their instruments and experience a rehearsal. Question-and-answer sessions will follow the rehearsals.

Auditions are not required for membership in the String Sinfonietta. Auditions for the other ensembles, all to be held at Dominion Arts Center:

May 23 (4:30-8 p.m.) and May 30 (4:30-8 p.m.) Camerata Strings, Youth Concert Orchestra and Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra.

June 6 (4:30-8 p.m.) Youth Concert Orchestra and Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Aug. 15 (5-7 p.m.) Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Aug. 22 (4:30-8 p.m.) Camerata Strings and Youth Concert Orchestra.

To make reservations for an open house or obtain more information about the Youth Orchestra Program, call (804) 788-4717, Ext. 144, or link online: http://www.richmondsymphony.com/education-engagement/
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The plan for this program was to see how much instrumental virtuosity I could fit into three hours without turning it into a succession of splashy showpieces. Plenty of dazzlers here – you’ll often be amazed that real people in real time made the sounds that you’re hearing – but real music to chew on, too.

March 8
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in D major, RV 208
(“Il grosso Mogul”)
Gordan Nikolitch, violin
Combattimento Consort
Amsterdam/
Jan Willem de Vriend
(Challenge Classics)

Past Masters:
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major
Sviatoslav Richter, piano
London Symphony Orchestra/
Kirill Kondrashin
(recorded 1961)
(Philips)

Ravel: “Gaspard de la nuit”
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano
(Decca)

Haydn:
Cello Concerto No. 1
in C major
Pieter Wispelwey,
cello & director
Florilegium Ensemble
(Channel Classics)

Bartók: Sonata for solo violin
Viktoria Mullova, violin
(Philips)

J.S. Bach:
Partita in D minor,
BWV 1004 – Chaconne
(arrangement by
Jean Rondeau)
Jean Rondeau, harpsichord
(Erato)

Dukas: Villanelle
David Jolley, French horn
Samuel Sanders, piano
(Arabesque)

Brahms:
Piano Quintet
in F minor, Op. 34
Stefan Vladar, piano
Artis Quartet
(Sony Classical)

Sarasate:
“Zigeunerweisen”
Julia Fischer, violin
Milana Chernyavska, piano
(Decca)
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Steven Smith conducting
with Jinjoo Cho, violin
March 4, Dominion Arts Center

“Pétrouchka,” second of the three ballet scores that launched Igor Stravinsky’s career in early 20th century Paris – introduced in 1911, it followed “The Firebird” (1910) and preceded “The Rite of Spring” (1913) – is a work that, while still regularly staged by ballet troupes, also has become a staple of the orchestral repertory.

Conductors and orchestras typically perform such pieces more “symphonically” in concert, with more propulsion in fast sections and greater flexibility in slower or more lyrical passages, than they might while accompanying a ballet production.

Steven Smith, the Richmond Symphony’s music director, paced this “Pétrouchka” for invisible dancers. His fairly strict, generally measured tempos enhanced the music in some ways – clarifying the colors and textures of Stravinsky’s elaborately detailed orchestration, giving its many solos and small-ensemble exchanges the space to be fully realized – but lowered the voltage of the score’s more exciting parts.

“The Shrovetide Fair,” the opening section, came across as a colorful procession rather than a display of musical fireworks, and subsequent big moments sounded similarly understated.

The orchestra played splendidly, painting Stravinsky’s wide pallette of tone colors vividly and producing his many novel sound effects effectively. Trumpeter Brian Strawley, English horn player Alexandra von der Embse, flutist Mary Boodell, bassoonist Thomas Schneider, clarinetist David Lemelin and the orchestra’s percussionists were the stars of the show, playing with the expressiveness and attention to timbral detail more often heard in chamber music than in orchestral performances.

The evening’s guest soloist, the Korean-born, Cleveland-based violinist Jinjoo Cho, treated Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D major to an ultra-romantic interpretation, phrasing with plentiful rubato, lingering on expressive details, emphasizing dynamic contrasts and playing up big rhetorical gestures. Tchaikovsky invites this kind of italicization, and Cho was not shy about accepting the invitation.

Listening to Cho, I was reminded of singers who have distinctly different head, throat and chest voices. Her high-register playing was light, sweet and focused, her low notes solid and rounded. Her “throat” took awhile to clear: A rather raw, congested tone afflicted her middle register, especially in double-stopping, during much of the concerto’s first movement, but became less throaty as her performance progressed.

Smith and the symphony supported her admirably, producing the rich, robust and grandly lyrical sound that Tchaikovsky demands of an orchestra, while reducing the orchestral bulk when Cho played quietly.

The curtain-raiser of the program was “An American Port of Call,” which the Virginia Beach-based composer Adolphus Hailstork wrote in 1985 for his hometown band, the Virginia Symphony.

Like Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” Hailstork’s score is a miniature concerto for orchestra, a succession of colorful scenes with bluesy asides. Hailstork faced a bigger challenge than Gershwin – Paris in the 1920s was a vastly more enticing subject for sound-scaping than Hampton Roads in the 1980s – but he took up the task with enthusiasm and produced a work of enduring appeal.

Performing with the composer in attendance, Smith and the symphony gave “An American Port of Call” an energetic, consistently engaging performance.
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Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult single-ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, group and other discounts may be offered.

* In and around Richmond: Korean-American violinist Jinjoo Cho joins Steven Smith and the Richmond Symphony in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, in a Masterworks program also featuring Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka” and Virginia composer Adolphus Hailstork’s “An Ametican Port of Call,” March 4 at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Arts Center, following a March 3 Casual Fridays discussion and performance of “Petrouchka” by Smith, the orchestra and host Todd Waldo, also at the Carpenter Theatre.
. . . The Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia presents pianist Reiko Aizawa, flutist Mary Boodell, violinist Jesse Mills and cellist James Wilson (the society’s artistic director) in “Brahms and Friends,” a free talk and mini-concert, March 11 in the Gellman Room of the Richmond Public Library’s downtown main branch. (A March 10 Chamber Music Society concert in a private home is sold out.) . . . Singer Ann Hampton Calloway joins Chia-Hsuan Lin and the Richmond Symphony Pops in songs made famous by Barbra Streisand, March 11 at the Carpenter Theatre. . . . Members of the Richmond chapter of the American Guild of Organists, joined by the Richmond Choral Society, perform in the annual Bach marathon, March 12 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. . . . The Jefferson Baroque ensemble samples rarely heard pieces of French baroque music in a free concert on March 18 in the Gellman Room of the Richmond Public Library. . . . Violinist Irina Muresanu joins Peter Wilson and the Richmond Philharmonic to introduce the new Violin Concerto of Elena Ruehr, on an “American Women in Music” program, also featuring music by Joan Tower and Amy Beach, March 19 at The Steward School. . . . Gamelan Raga Kusuma, led by Andrew McGraw, presents a program of pieces for the traditional Indonesian percussion ensemble, March 19 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Grace Street Theater. . . . Cellist Ronald Crutcher (president of the University of Richmond) and pianist Joanne Long play Brahms, Schumann, Debussy and Alvin Singleton in a free recital on March 22 at UR’s Modlin Arts Center. . . . eighth blackbird, the University of Richmond’s resident new-music sextet, is joined by Will Oldham (aka “Bonnie Prince Billy”) in music by Oldham, Frederic Rzewski, David Lang and Bryce Dessner, March 29 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. . . . Virginia Opera stages its final production of the season, Puccini’s “Turandot,” March 31 and April 2 at the Carpenter Theatre, following runs earlier in March at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk and George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax.

* Noteworthy elsewhere: Pianist Helène Grimaud joins Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, on a program with works by Schumann and Anna Clyne, March 2 at the Music Center at Strathmore in the Maryland suburbs of DC.
. . . Pianist Alon Golstein plays Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 2 in an all-French program with JoAnn Falletta and the Virginia Symphony, March 3-5 in venues in Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. . . . Richmond-born mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey stars as Sister Helen Prejean in Washington Opera’s production of “Dead Man Walking” by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally, March 3, 5, 8 and 11 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington. . . . Cameron Carpenter brings his International Touring Organ to Strathmore on March 3 in music ranging from Bach and Wagner to Scriabin and Piazzolla. . . . George Manahan, the former music director of the Richmond Symphony, conducts Washington National Opera’s production of “Champion,” a jazz opera by Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer based on the real-life story of closeted gay boxer Emile Griffith, March 4, 6, 10, 12, 15 and 18 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. . . . The Kronos Quartet plays Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet and an international array of contemporary chamber works, March 4 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in DC. . . . Pianist András Schiff performs in all-Schubert program, March 7 at Strathmore.
. . . Cellist Alisa Weilerstein joins Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra in
the Concerto No. 2 of Shostakovich, sharing the program with Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, March 9 and 11 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Jan Lisiecki, the celebrated young Canadian pianist, plays Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto (No. 5) with Paul Goodwin and the Baltimore Symphony, on a program with Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto, March 11 at Strathmore. . . . Pianist Richard Goode plays Bach and Chopin, March 12 at the University of the District of Columbia in DC. . . . Pianist Wu Han and colleagues from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform in an all-French program, including Chausson’s Concerto for piano, violin and string quartet, March 14 at Old Cabell Hall of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. . . . JoAnn Falletta conducts the Virginia Symphony, Virginia Symphony Chorus and soloists in Verdi’s Requiem, March 17-19 at venues in Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. . . . Charlottesville Opera (formerly Ash Lawn Opera) opens its 2017 season with the East Coast premiere of “Middlemarch in Spring” by Allen Shearer, with a libretto by former Richmonder Claudia Stevens, March 23-24 at the Paramount Theater. . . . The Kennedy Center’s SHIFT: a Festival of American Orchestras presents programs, mostly of contemporary American music, by Colorado’s Boulder Philharmonic on March 28, the North Carolina Symphony on March 29 and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus on March 31, with The Knights, the Brooklyn-based chamber orchestra, performing on April 1.


March 2 (7 p.m.)
March 3 (11:30 a.m.)
March 4 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Mark Wigglesworh conducting
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1
Simone Lamsma, violin
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major
$15-$89
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 2 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Anna Clyne: “Within Her Arms”
Schumann: Symphony No. 3 in E flat major (“Rhenish”)
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major
Helène Grimaud, piano
$35-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

March 3 (6:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony Casual Fridays
Steven Smith conducting & speaking 
Todd Waldo, host
Stravinsky: “Petrouchka”
$10-$50
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

March 3 (4 p.m.)
Black Music Center Recital Hall, Virginia Commonwealth University, Grove Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Max Lincoln, viola
program TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 3 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
March 4 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
March 5 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Debussy: “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor
Alon Goldstein, piano
Debussy: Nocturnes
women of Virginia Symphony Chorus
Roussel: “Bacchus et Ariane” Suite No. 2
$25-$110
(757) 892-6366
http://www.virginiasymphony.org

March 3 (7:30 p.m.)
March 5 (2 p.m.)
March 8 (7:30 p.m.)
March 11 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Michael Christie conducting
Jake Heggie & Terrence McNally: “Dead Man Walking”
Kate Lindsey (Sister Helen Prejean)
Michael Mayes (Joseph De Rocher)
Susan Graham (Mrs. De Rocher)
Jacqueline Echols (Sister Rose)
Wayne Tigges (Owen Hart)
Francesco Zambello, stage director
in English, English captions
$45-$300
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 3 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Cameron Carpenter, International Touring Organ
Wagner-Carpenter: “Die Meistersinger” Overture
Astor Piazzolla: “Oblivion”
J.S. Bach: “The Art of the Fugue,” BWV 1080 – Kontrapunktus IX
J.S. Bach-Carpenter: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
J.S. Bach: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
Vierne: “Naïades”
Vierne: “Carillon de Westminster”
Scriabin-Carpenter: Sonata No. 4 in F sharp major, Op. 30
Leslie Bricusse-Carpenter: “Pure Imagination”
other works, improvisations TBA
$35-$75
(202) 785-9727
http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org

March 4 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Adolphus Hailstork: “An American Port of Call”
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major
Jinjoo Cho, violin
Stravinsky: “Petrouchka”
$10-$80
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

March 4 (7 p.m.)
March 6 (7 p.m.)
March 10 (7:30 p.m.)
March 12 (2 p.m.)
March 15 (7:30 p.m.)
March 18 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
George Manahan conducting
Terence Blanchard & Michael Cristofer: “Champion”
Arthur Woodley (Emile Griffith)
Aubrey Allicock (Young Emile)
Denyce Graves (Emelda Griffith)
Victor Ryan Robertson (Benny Paret)
Wayne Tigges (Howie Albert)
Meredith Arwady (Kathy Hagan)
James Robinson, stage director
in English, English captions
$35-$300
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 4 (8 p.m.)
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600I St. NW, Washington
Kronos Quartet
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh: “Mugam Sayagi”
Aleksander Kosciów: “Hílathi”
Yotam Haber: “From the Book” (premiere)
Steve Reich: Triple Quartet
Alter Yechiel Karniol-Judith Berkson: “Sim Sholom”
Tanburi Cemil Bey-Stephen Prutsman: “Eviç Taksim”
Abel Meeropol-Jacob Garchik: “Strange Fruit”
Vladimir Martynov: “The Beatitudes”
Cafe Tacvbai-Osvaldo Golijov: “12/12”
$40
(202) 785-9727
http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org

March 5 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Virginia Consort
Virginia Consort Festival Chorus
Judith Gary conducting
Mozart: Requiem
Jaely Chamberlain, soprano
Sarah Best, mezzo-soprano
Sammy Huh, tenor
David Brundage, bass
Z. Randall Stroope: “Lamentations of Jeremiah”
Z. Randall Stroope: “The Pasture”
Morten Lauridsen: “Sure on This Shining Night”
Ola Gjeilo: “Across the Vast, Eternal Sky”
Bob Chilcott: “I Share Creation” – “When the Sun Rises”
$35
(434) 924-3376
http://virginiaconsort.org

March 5 (7 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Jeffrey Siegel, piano & speaker
“Keyboard Conversations: The Immortal Melodies of Schubert”
$25-$42
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
http://cfa.gmu.edu/calendar

March 6 (7 p.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue, Richmond
Furman University Singers
Hugh Floyd directing
program TBA
$10 donation requested
(804) 359-5651
http://richmondcathedral.org

March 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Kaufman Theater, Chrysler Museum of Art, 1 Memorial Place, Norfolk
Feldman Chamber Music Society:
Doric String Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in B flat major, Op. 64, No. 3
Bartók: Quartet No. 2
Mendelssohn: Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
$30
(757) 552-1630
http://feldmanchambermusic.org

March 7 (8 p.m.)
Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St.
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Doric String Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in B flat major, Op. 64, No. 3
Bartók: Quartet No. 2
Mendelssohn: Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
$15 (waiting list)
(757) 220-0051
http://www.chambermusicwilliamsburg.org

March 7 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
András Schiff, piano
Schubert: Sonata in A minor, D. 845
Schubert: Sonata in G major, D. 894
Schubert: 3 piano pieces, D. 946
Schubert: 4 impromptus, D. 935
$40-$80
(202) 785-9727
http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org

March 9 (8 p.m.)
Phi Beta Kappa Hall, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg
March 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Roper Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk
Virginia Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
Malcolm Arnold: “Tam O’Shanter” Overture
Britten: “Suite on English Folk Tunes”
Beethoven-Rous: “Irish Songs”
John McGuire, tenor
Haydn: Symphony No. 101 in A major (“The Clock”) (March 9 only)
$5-$65
(757) 892-6366
http://www.virginiasymphony.org

March 9 (7 p.m.)
March 11 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Tobias Picker: “Old and Lost Songs”
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major (“Great”)
$15-$89
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 10 (7 p.m.)
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road, Richmond
Martha Prewitt, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Stipe, piano
Ture Rangstrom: “Dark Flower”
Grieg: “Melodies of the Heart,” Op. 5
Nielsen: songs, Op. 4
free
(804) 270-4626
http://www.trinityrichmond.net

March 11 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia:
Reiko Aizawa, piano
Mary Boodell, flute
Jesse Mills, violin
James Wilson, cello
“Brahms and Friends”
works TBA by Brahms, Robert & Clara Schumann
free
(804) 646-7223
http://cmscva.org

March 11 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony Pops
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting
Ann Hampton Calloway, guest star
“The Streisand Songbook”
$10-$80
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

March 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Berglund Performing Arts Theatre, Orange Avenue at Williamson Road, Roanoke
March 12 (3 p.m.)
Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg
Roanoke Symphony
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Smetana: “The Moldau”
Copland: “Billy the Kid” Suite
Jerome Margolis: “Franklin County”
Ravel: Bolero
$25-$55
(540) 343-9127
http://rso.com

March 11 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Paul Goodwin conducting
Stravinsky: Concerto in E flat major (“Dumbarton Oaks”)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major (“Emperor”)
Jan Lisiecki, piano
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B flat major
$35-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

March 12 (3 p.m.)
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Grace at Ryland streets, Richmond
Richmond chapter, American Guild of Organists:
Bach Marathon
J.S. Bach: “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben,”
BWV 147
Richmond Choral Society
Markus Compton directing
J.S. Bach: solo organ works TBA
Chris Martin, Christopher Reynolds, Marty Barstow, Scott Hayes, Paula Pugh Romanaux, Aaron Renninger, Joel Kumro, Grant Hellmers & Daniel Stipe, organ 
free
(804) 353-4413
http://richmondago.org

March 12 (4 p.m.)
Theater of the Arts, University of the District of Columbia, Washington
Richard Goode, piano
J.S. Bach: “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book 2 – 4 preludes and fugues
J.S. Bach: Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830
Chopin: Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 55, No. 2
Chopin: Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1
Chopin: Mazurka in C major, Op. 24, No. 2
Chopin: Mazurka in A flat major, Op. 59, No. 2
Chopin: Mazurka in F minor, Op. 7, No. 3
Chopin: Mazurka in B flat minor, Op. 24, No. 4
Chopin: Ballade in A flat major, Op. 47, No. 3
Chopin: Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 1
Chopin: Nocturne in E major, Op. 62, No. 2
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie in A flat major, Op. 61
$68
(202) 785-9727
http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org

March 13 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
The Ten Tenors
program TBA
$30-$85
(301) 581-5100
http://www.strathmore.org

March 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Leclair: Concerto in E minor, Op. 10, No. 5, for violin, string quartet and continuo
Françaix: String Trio
Ravel: “Tzigane” for violin and piano
Chausson: Concerto in D major for violin, piano and string quartet, Op. 21
$12-$35
(434) 924-3376
http://tecs.org

March 15 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Marco Schirripa, marimba
program TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 16 (7 p.m.)
March 17 (11:30 a.m.)
March 18 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216
Nurit Bar-Josef, violin
Bruckner: Symphony No. 1 in C minor
$15-$89
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 16 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Pops
Jack Everly conducting
guest stars TBA
“A Celtic Celebration”
$35-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

March 17 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
March 18 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
March 19 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Verdi: Requiem
soloists TBA
Virginia Symphony Chorus
$25-$110
(757) 892-6366
http://www.virginiasymphony.org

March 17 (8 p.m.)
March 19 (2:30 p.m.)
March 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Opera
John DeMain conducting
Puccini: “Turandot”
Kelly Cae Hogan (Turandot)
Derek Taylor (Calaf)
Ricardo Lugo (Timur)
Danielle Pastin (Liù)
Keith Brown (Ping)
Ian McEuen (Pang)
Joseph Gaines (Pong)
John McGuire (Emperor)
Andrew Paulson (Mandarin)
Lillian Groag, stage director
in Italian, English captions
$32.73-$107.27
(866) 673-7282
http://vaopera.org

March 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Michael Christie conducting
Mozart: “Don Giovanni”
Michael Adams (Don Giovanni)
Raquel González (Donna Anna)
Kerriann Otaño (Donna Elvira)
Rexford Tester (Don Ottavio)
Andrew Bogard (Leporello)
Ariana Wehr (Zerlina)
Hunter Enoch (Masetto)
Timothy J. Bruno (Commendatore)
Francesca Zambello, stage director
in Italian, English captions
$35-$75
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 18 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Jefferson Baroque
French baroque works TBA
introductory talk at 1:30 p.m.
free
(804) 646-7223
http://rvalibrary.org

March 18 (4 p.m.)
First Presbyterian Church, 500 Park St., Charlottesville
Oratorio Society of Virginia
Michael Slon directing
community participants
“Together in Song”
Morten Lauridsen: “Lux Aeterna”
choral master class, 10 a.m.
$25
(434) 295-4385
http://www.oratoriosociety.org

March 18 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Piotr Gajewski conducting
Jonathan Leshnoff: “Zohar” (“Radiance”)
Brahms: “A German Requiem”
Danielle Talamantes, soprano
Nmon Ford, baritone
National Philharmonic Chorale
$33-$66
(301) 581-5100
http://www.strathmore.org

March 19 (4 p.m.)
Cramer Center, Steward School, 11600 Gayton Road, Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Peter Wilson conducting
“American Women in Music”
Joan Tower: “Made in America”
Elena Ruehr: Violin Concerto (premiere)
Irina Muresanu, violin
Amy Beach: Symphony No. 2 in E minor (“Gaelic”)
$8 in advance, $10 at door
(804) 673-7400
http://www.richmondphilharmonic.org

March 19 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Guitar Series:
Ron Alig, Nathan Aldhizer, Joel Hansen & Andrew McEvoy, classical guitars
works TBA by J.S. Bach, Tárrega, Granados, Schubert, Chopin
$15
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 19 (7 p.m.)
River Road Church, Baptist, River at Ridge roads, Richmond
Jory Vinikour, harpsichord
works TBA by J.S. Bach
free
(804) 288-1131
http://www.rrcb.org

March 19 (8 p.m.)
Grace Street Theater, Virginia Commonwealth University, 934 W. Grace St., Richmond
Gamelan Raga Kusuma
Andrew McGraw directing
Indonesian gamelan works TBA
$12
(860) 989-4707
http://ragakusuma.org

March 19 (3 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Chamber Music Series:
Katy Ambrose, French horn
John Mayhood, piano
other artists TBA
Hindemith: Horn Sonata
Franz Joseph Strauss: “Fantasie on Schubert’s ‘Sehnsuchtswalzer’ ”
Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K. 447 (chamber arrangement)
$15
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

March 22 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
performers TBA
“Faculty Showcase” 
program TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Ronald Crutcher, cello
Joanne Kong, piano
Schumann: “Fantastiestücke,” Op. 73
Debussy: Cello Sonata
Alvin Singleton: “Argoru ii”
Brahms: Sonata in E minor, Op. 38
free
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

March 23 (7:30 p.m.)
March 24 (2 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Charlottesville Opera
Douglas Kinney Frost conducting
Allen Shearer & Claudia Stevens: “Middlemarch in Spring”
Sara Duchovnay (Dorothea)
Philip Skinner (Casaubon)
David Margulis (Will)
Tonia D’Amelio (Celia)
Michael Mendelsohn (Brooke)
Gideon Dabi (Sir James)
Andrea Dorf McGray, stage director
in English
pre-performance talks by Claudia Stevens, March 23; Rebecca Mead, March 24
$25-$49
(434) 979-1333
http://www.charlottesvilleopera.org

March 24 (8 p.m.)
Theater of the Arts, University of the District of Columbia, Washington
JCT Trio
Dvorák: Piano Trio in F minor, Op. 65
Ives: Piano Trio, Op. 86
Mozart: piano trios TBA
$35
(202) 785-9727
http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org

March 24 (8 p.m.)
March 25 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Steven Reineke conducting
Montego Glover, Capathia Jenkins & Sy Smith, guest stars
“Sophisticated Ladies: 100 Years of Ella & Company”
$24-$99
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 25 (11 a.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony LolliPops
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting
Michael Boudewyns, actor
“A Child’s Guide to the Orchestra”
Britten: “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”
$12-$17
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

March 25 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
March 26 (3:30 p.m.)
Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center, Charlottesville High School, 1400 Melbourne Road
Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia
Cheung Chau conducting
Ravel: Bolero
Schumann: Cello Concerto in A minor
Cicely Parnas, cello
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor (“Pathétique”)
$10-$45
(434) 924-3376
http://cvillesymphony.org

March 25 (8 p.m.)
March 26 (2 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Virginia Opera
John DeMain conducting
Puccini: “Turandot”
Kelly Cae Hogan (Turandot)
Derek Taylor (Calaf)
Ricardo Lugo (Timur)
Danielle Pastin (Liù)
Keith Brown (Ping)
Ian McEuen (Pang)
Joseph Gaines (Pong)
John McGuire (Emperor)
Andrew Paulson (Mandarin)
Lillian Groag, stage director
in Italian, English captions
$52-$110
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
http://vaopera.org

March 25 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting
Dukas: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
Chausson: “Poème”
Ravel: “Tzigane”
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Stravinsky: “Petrouchka”
$35-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org

March 26 (3 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Yin Zheng, piano
Misha Quint, cello
Schubert: Sonata in A minor, D. 821 (“Arpeggione”)
Shostakovich: Sonata in D minor
Ravel: “Habañera”
Shchedrin: “À la Albéniz”
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 26 (7 p.m.)
St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg
Lynn Trapp, organ
program TBA
free
(757) 229-3631
http://bedeva.org/concerts

March 26 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
José-Luis Novo conducting
Beethoven: “Fidelio” Overture
Barber: Violin Concerto
James Ehnes, violin
Wagner: “Tristan und Isolde” – Prelude & “Liebestod”
Stravinsky: “The Firebird” Suite
$10-$30
(301) 581-5100
http://www.strathmore.org

March 28 (5 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Erika Boysen, flute
program TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 28 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
SHIFT: a Festival of American Orchestras:
Boulder Philharmonic
Michael Butterman conducting
Stephen Lias: “All the Songs That Nature Sings” (premiere)
Jeff Midkiff: Mandolin Concerto (“From the Blue Ridge”)
Jeff Midkiff, mandolin
Steve Heitzeg: “Ghosts of the Grasslands”
Copland: “Appalachian Spring” Suite
Frequent Flyers dance troupe
$25
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Cheek Theater, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Boulevard at Grove Avenue, Richmond
eighth blackbird
Will Oldham, vocalist & narrator
Frederic Rzewski: “Come Together”
David Lang: “Learn to Fly”
Bryce Dessner: “Murder Ballades”
Will Oldham: songs TBA
$28
(804) 289-8980 (UR Modlin Center box office)
http://modlin.richmond.edu

March 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Colleen Thorburn, harp
program TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 29 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
SHIFT: a Festival of American Orchestras:
North Carolina Symphony
Grant Llewellyn conducting
Robert Ward: “Jubilation” Overture
Caroline Shaw: “Lo”
Mason Bates: “Rusty Air in Carolina”
Sarah Kirkland Snider: “Hiraeth”
Robert Ward: “City of Oaks”
$25
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 30 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
David Tayloe, tenor
program TBA
free
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/events/

March 31 (8 p.m.)
April 2 (2:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Virginia Opera
John DeMain conducting
Puccini: “Turandot”
Kelly Cae Hogan (Turandot)
Derek Taylor (Calaf)
Ricardo Lugo (Timur)
Danielle Pastin (Liù)
Keith Brown (Ping)
Ian McEuen (Pang)
Joseph Gaines (Pong)
John McGuire (Emperor)
Andrew Paulson (Mandarin)
Lillian Groag, stage director
in Italian, English captions
$19-$114
(866) 673-7282
http://vaopera.org

March 31 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
SHIFT: a Festival of American Orchestras:
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano conducting
Christopher Theofanidis: “Creation/Creator”
Jessica Rivera, soprano
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Thomas Cooley, tenor
Nmon Ford, baritone
Evan Boyer, bass
Atlanta Symphony Chorus
Stephen Cole & Shannon Eubanks, narrators
$25
(800) 444-1324
http://www.kennedy-center.org

March 31 (8:15 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting & speaking
“Off the Cuff: Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Scheherazade’ ”
$35-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
http://www.strathmore.org
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In the second hour, remembering Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, the Polish-born conductor and composer who died on Feb. 21 at 93. His tenure with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra), as music director (1960-79), then as conductor laureate, spanned an extraordinary 56 seasons.

March 1
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

Past Masters:
Mendelssohn: “Hebrides” Overture
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner
(recorded 1956)
(RCA Victor)

Dohnányi:
Piano Quintet in C minor,
Op. 1
Wu Han, piano
Alexander Sitkovetsky & Nicolas Dautricourt, violins
Paul Neubauer, viola
David Finckel, cello
(ArtistLed)

Nikolai Medtner:
Sonata in A minor, Op. 30
Marc-André Hamelin, piano
(Hyperion)

Past Masters:
Wagner:
“Tristan und Isolde” – 
Prelude & “Liebestod”
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra/
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
(recorded 1976)
(MMG)

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski: Concerto for Orchestra
Minnesota Orchestra/
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
(Reference Recordings)

Past Masters:
Ravel: “Pavane pour une infante défunte”
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra/
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
(recorded 1974)
(Mobile Fidelity)

Britten:
Serenade for
tenor, horn and strings
Ian Bostridge, tenor
Radek Baborák,
French horn
Berlin Philharmonic/
Simon Rattle
(EMI Classics)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Violin Concerto in G minor
Philippe Graffin, violin
Johannesburg Philharmonic/Michael Hankinson
(Avie)
7 months ago |
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Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who was music director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra) for 19 years (1960-79) and led Britain’s Hallé Orchestra of Manchester and the German Radio Orchestra of Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern for lengthy tenures, has died at 93.

He had been among the oldest still-active conductors, routinely working on lengthy and demanding scores such
as the symphonies of Bruckner and Shostakovich, until suffering a stroke in November and another earlier this month.

Skrowaczewski, born in Lwów, Poland, was chief conductor of a succession of Polish orchestras in the 1940s and ’50s. He first worked in the US in 1958, invited by George Szell to conduct the Cleveland Orchestra, after winning the Santa Cecilia Competition for Conductors in Rome two years earlier.

As music director, then conductor laureate, in Minneapolis, he conducted the Minnesota Orchestra each year for 56 seasons.

During and after his Minnesota years, he guest-conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras, among them the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. He also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera and Vienna State Opera.

From the ’40s onward, Skrowaczewski frequently programmed works by contemporary composers, and was himself an accomplished composer.

He amassed a large discography. Among his most celebrated recordings was a cycle of the Bruckner symphonies with the Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern orchestra.

An obituary by Jenna Ross from the Star Tribune of Minneapolis:

http://www.startribune.com/stanislaw-skrowaczewski-minnesota-musical-giant-dead-at-93/414391273/#1
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Feb. 22
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
http://www.wdce.org

J.C. Bach: Sinfonia in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
Akademie für
alte Musik Berlin/
Stefan Mai
(Harmonia Mundi)

Charles Ives:
“The Unanswered Question”
Michael Sachs, trumpet
Cleveland Orchestra/
Christoph von Dohnányi
(Decca)

Past Masters:
Beethoven:
Symphony No. 5 in C minor
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/
George Szell
(recorded 1966)
(Philips)

Past Masters:
Mozart:
Quartet in D minor,
K. 421
Quartetto Italiano
(recorded 1966)
(Philips)

Anton Webern:
“Langsammer Satz”
Emerson String Quartet
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Joseph Martin Kraus:
Symphony in C sharp minor
Concerto Köln/
Werner Ehrhardt
(Phoenix Edition) 

Shostakovich:
Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110
Kronos Quartet
(Nonesuch)

Schumann:
Symphony No. 2 in C major
Vienna Philharmonic/
Giuseppe Sinopoli
(Deutsche Grammophon)
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with Wu Man, pipa
Feb. 19, University of Richmond

Wu Man, the most widely recognized player of the pipa, the Chinese lute, joined the Shanghai Quartet in a program of traditional and contemporary music from China, and several works by Chinese-American composers.

The pentatonic musical scale used in most Chinese music, as well as the country’s instruments and expressive techniques, differ from those of European and American music, but don’t sound as exotic or alien to Westerners as they did several generations ago.

That’s not just due to the rapid recent growth of multiculturalism. Western curiosity about Asian cultures, including Asian music, dates back centuries. Plus, some families of instruments are similar regardless of their countries of origin. Lutes look and sound much like one another, whether they’re called lutes, mandolins, balalaikas, ouds or pipas.

How they’re played also can vault over continents and centuries. As Wu Man played the traditional Chinese “Xi Yang Xiao Gu” (“Flute and Drum Music at Sunset”) and the Central Asian “Kui: Song of Kazakhstan,” it was not too much of a stretch to imagine those pieces adapted for an Appalachian stringband – assuming you could find a mandolinist nimble enough to pull off her speedy fingering and exceptionally light touch at the quietest volume.

Regrettably, they were the program’s only samples of her solo playing. Playing with the Shanghai, as she did in Tan Dun’s Concerto for pipa and string quartet, a suite from Zhao Jiping’s film score for “The Red Lantern” and two folk-song arrangements by Yi-Wen Jiang, the quartet’s second violinist, the pipa virtuoso became part of an ensemble, often playing a supportive or coloristic role.

Both the film-score suite, arranged by the composer’s son, Zhao Lin, and Jiang’s arrangements of “Butterfly Lovers” (perhaps the most familiar of all Chinese folk songs in the West) and “Yao Dance,” are substantially Westernized.

The rhythms and phrasing of the Chinese melodies are moderated for Western ears, and the tone of bowed strings, singly and collectively, is much the same as one would hear in a European-romantic string quartet. The lead violin parts, played by Weigang Li, sounded especially lush and lyrical – probably thanks in equal parts to the arrangers and to the string-friendly acoustic of Camp Concert Hall in the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center.

The Chinese accents of Tan Dun’s concerto are less diluted, but still show the influences of Western modernist-classical style. Zhou Long’s “Song of the Ch’in,” in which the string quartet evokes the sound of a Chinese zither, is even more authentically Chinese in character. Long’s quartet was securely under the players’ fingers – it has been part of the Shanghai’s repertory for two decades. Interestingly, the foursome’s only non-Chinese member, cellist Nicholas Tzavaras, sounded especially expert in producing zither-like tones and figures.

Wu Man and two members of the quartet, violinist Jiang and violist Honggang Li, were music-school classmates in their youths, and the five players’ mutual regard and respect for one another’s musicianship was audible throughout the program.

The more idiomatically Chinese the music sounded, though, the better they played.
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with James Jacobson, timpani
Feb. 19, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland

Many authoritative figures have made ill-considered remarks about Beethoven’s music. The prize-winner may be Robert Schumann’s characterization of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B flat major as “a slender Greek maiden between two Norse giants.”

While slender in length aside Beethoven’s nearly hour-long Third (“Eroica”) Symphony, slender in portent compared with the Fifth Symphony, even conceivably Greek in terms of its classical symmetry (à la Mozart and Haydn), the Fourth is no maiden. Short, sturdy, hard-hitting and fast on its feet, it’s more like a ninja.

The Richmond Symphony’s performance of the Fourth in its latest Metro Collection concert certainly punched above its weight. Conductor Steven Smith drew from the chamber-scaled orchestra a forceful, flexible and propulsive reading that made the piece sound as big in sound and spirit as the better-known, odd-numbered Beethoven symphonies.

The Beethoven Fourth followed two novelties, Bruce Adolphe’s “Tryannosaurus Sue: A Cretaceous Concerto,” a musical fable with narration on the life and times of a dinosaur, and Johann Carl Christian Fischer’s Symphony in C major.

Fischer’s opus would be a garden-variety mid-18th century rococo sinfonia were it not scored with eight obbligato kettle drums, played in this performance by the orchestra’s timpanist, James Jacobson.

Wielding period-appropriate hard-headed sticks, which produce real drumbeats rather than the percussive rumbles that timps so often contribute to 19th-century orchestrations, Jacobson stylishly and exuberantly amplified the martiality of Fischer’s score, a rather well-mannered member of the family of “battle” music that stretches from the late Renaissance to modern times. Jacobson added some extra rambunctious merriment in a couple of cadenzas.

“Tyrannosaurus Sue,” the imagined biography of a critter whose skeleton greets visitors to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, set to music by the composer best-known for his “Piano Puzzler” features on public radio’s “Performance Today,” is fancifully noisy as its protagonist, played by a trombonist (here, the symphony’s Zachary Guiles) squabbles at mealtimes and fights to the death with other prehistoric carnivores, portrayed in turn by clarinet (David Lemelin), bassoon (Thomas Schneider) and French horn (James Ferree).

Fight scenes aside, the piece is a sophisticated homage to musical modernism, indebted especially to Stravinsky but also nodding toward other 20th-century masters and the melange of atonalism, neoclassicism, impressionism, primitivism, dada, cabaret and jazz, plus a few other exotic spices, in the musical stew cooked by composers over the past century.

The symphony’s performance was suitably savory.
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