Monday, March 13, 2006

Paul's Premiere

Saturday evening was a delight in Allentown. I went to a concert I'd been anxious to hear/attend at Muhlenburg University.

Outside the Baker Performing Arts Center

After a few wrong turns (I had given myself plenty of time to get there, thank goodness!) I found the Baker Center for the Arts. These pictures were taken while finishing up my cigar...also giving me time to run into Paul Moravec and meet his wife Wendy.

Kile Smith and Paul Moravec

Composer/Librarian/Radio host Kile Smith of Philadelphia (who joined me later in the hall with his daughter) did the pre-concert talk (a delightful interview really) beforehand, talking with Paul about music. Especially interesting were points made about Bach (physically connecting with a composer by playing their music - what a great notion - learn about Bach and thinking that by playing a fugue you are "in touch" or one with Bach (insert any composer name here); and also the idea of writing practical music, I think he said "community composer" or something close to that - that the music/composer is writing music to be used in "everyday" or practical situations...again a reference to Bach writing a cantata for use every Sunday...a lovely concept.)

Bert Lucarelli, Paul Moravec, Donald Spieth

Hearing the world premiere of Paul Moravec's Concerto for Oboe and Strings with the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, soloist Bert Lucarelli and conductor Donald Spieth was a real treat. The first movement is a well thought out and technical powerhouse - with excellent interplay between the soloist and the orchestra. Moravec uses harmonics and pizzicato quite well, and in perfect pairings really in contrast to the oboe. The second movement drips of melody and passion, allowing the oboe soloist grand gestures and highlights the orchestra quite well. The finale, combining elements from the previous two movements launches into a very "Moravecian" rhythm and exudes optimism with dazzling virtuosity and vigor. This work should not only be recorded, but played many times. I hope orchestras and oboists around the world embrace this work, it deserves to be heard and performed...Moravec has indeed succeeded again with this work.

The guys after the concert

The charming program continued with Copland's Appalachian Spring; Lucarelli came back with Wolf-Ferrari's Idillio-Concertino; and concluded with Schubert's Symphony No. 5.

No comments: