Monday, February 25, 2013

Picardy Penguin Week, Baroque Weekend

The KSO’s offerings for children have become two-pronged, with Young People’s Concerts for the schools in the fall, and these new VERY Young People’s (ages 5-7) Concerts sprinkled throughout the year. The star of the VYPCs is of course, Picardy Penguin, a lovable flightless bird who is, nonetheless, pretty fly. A virtual creation of Maestro Lucas Richman, Picardy will be delving into concepts of opposites and contrasts in music, with soprano Katy Wolfe Zahn and Maestro Richman assisting as co-delvers. Katy will be performing the Laughing Song from Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, and narrating a totally charming version of The Tortoise and the Hare set to music by composer Daniel Dorff, with some very clever musical devices. (Check out the snoring hare and the incredibly low voice of the tortoise). Associate Concertmaster Gordon Tsai will perform Fritz Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro; we were treated to a preview of it at quartet rehearsal the other day, and he is in the zone! Moussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and the finale from Tcaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 will also be played. These concerts will be TOMORROW, Tuesday the 26th at the Tennessee Theatre at 9:30, and at the Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville on Wednesday morning, the 27th, also at 9:30.


This coming Sunday, at 2:30 at the Bijou, the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra will offer an all-Baroque concert under the baton of Resident Conductor James Fellenbaum. Concertmaster Gabe Lefkowitz will be the soloist in Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in E. Opening the show will be Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto in F. Thanks to the magic of Youtube comments, I have learned that this is apparently the music playing in the original Karate Kid movie with Ralph Macchio when he is training in the ocean waves before the tournament.

Music of Handel will comprise the second half, with the Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 2 in F, and finally his Music for the Royal Fireworks. It’s interesting to note that although on the surface, this looks like a concert with three concerti on it, remember that a concerto grosso is not a solo work per se, nor is it a “really large and disgusting piece of music,” as the name might suggest. It is rather a “concerto” with “many soloists” (hence the grosso-ness of it). The Bach Brandenburg is in fact also a concerto grosso, it’s just that the Brandenburg concerto moniker has stuck with it since the works were rediscovered in 1849. Sadly, the Handel Concerti Grossi have only opus numbers (3 and 6, six concerti in each opus) to tell them apart; would that there were some more descriptive titles to distinguish them one from another. The concerti grossi are the only works by Handel to have opus numbers, by the way, save for the opus 1 Flute Sonatas. (Maybe he lost count)?

As with all of the Chamber Orchestra Concerts, a post-concert chat will follow the concert, this time with Gabe and Maestro Fellenbaum.

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