Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra 20th Anniversary Fall Concerts

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The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO), the only professional symphony orchestra on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, continues its 20th anniversary season, “Reaching Ever Higher,” with performances at the Easton Church of God in Easton, MD on Thursday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m.; at Mariner’s Bethel in Ocean View, DE on Saturday, November 4 at 3 p.m., with a Pre-Concert Lecture at 2:15 p.m.; and at the Community Church in Ocean Pines, MD on Sunday, November 5 at 3 p.m. with a Pre-Concert Lecture at 2:15 p.m. The fall concert program, “Autumn Legends,” will feature “Symphony No. 45” by Joseph Haydn, “Autumn Legend” by William Alwyn, and “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi,.

Franz Joseph Haydn (Austrian, 1732-1809) was born in poverty, but had the gift of music and a beautiful voice.  These gifts won him a position in the boys’ choir at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, with the additional benefits of room and board, music lessons and general education. He worked as a street musician and was asked to write a comic opera. He experimented endlessly with variations to the classical architecture of music, like the sonata form, and added new instruments to his orchestra as they were developed.  Donald Francis Tovey, in his Essays in Musical Analysis, writes about Haydn’s “…dramatic surprise… (where) almost everything is unexpected…”.  This commentary applies well to Symphony No. 45, the most popular of Haydn’s early symphonies.  Haydn gave young Beethoven music lessons, was very fond of Mozart and distraught by his early death.  Haydn was recognized in his lifetime throughout Europe as a master and a legend.

William Alwyn (British, 1905-1985) entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1920 and studied flute and composition.  He played with the London Symphony Orchestra and was Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy.  Alwyn, a poet, artist and leader of musicians’ organizations, was knighted in 1978.  He wrote several operas and symphonies, concertos, quartets, piano music and more than seventy film scores.  His music is often played by the John Wilson orchestra.  Although he experimented with new tonalities, he never quite abandoned the classical harmonies. Autumn Legend, a short work for English horn and orchestra, was written in 1954.  Alwyn said that he was inspired by his love of pre-Raphaelite paintings and the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Antonio Vivaldi (Venetian, 1678-1741) became a priest in 1703, but could not say mass because of asthma.  The following year, he was appointed violinist at the Ospedale della Pieta, one of several organizations in the city that took in orphan girls and gave them a musical education.  Vivaldi became Music Director of La Pieta in 1716.  His contract specified writing two concerti a month for the girls’ orchestra; over his lifetime, he wrote more than five hundred!  Undoubtedly, his most famous work is the collection of violin concerti known as The Four Seasons, written in the early 1720’s, and published in Amsterdam in 1725.  This piece is the most overtly programmatic work written to date, in which the music tries to evoke definite items, situations and experiences.  The Four Seasons is consistently one of the favorite works of the general public and regularly played in Venice’s churches by professional groups.

Featured musicians in the concert include violinist Amos Fayette and Carl Oswald on English Horn. Fayette began his studies with his mother at the age of two.  He continued lessons with various teachers and graduated from The Juilliard School of Music’s Pre-College Division as well as the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. He has been guest concertmaster of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and has performed various leadership roles in the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.

Oswald is a Baltimore native whose performances have spanned the globe.  A graduate of the Yale School of Music, he has appeared as a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia and the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra. He performs regularly in the Baltimore area with the Annapolis Symphony, Mid-Atlantic Symphony and the Concert Artists of Baltimore, and has appeared with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Princeton Symphony, Hartford Symphony and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council, the Worcester County Arts Council, Sussex County, Delaware and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Inc.

Tickets are available online at midatlanticsymphony.org, or by telephone (888) 846-8600 or at the door. For further information, visit midatlanticsymphony.org.

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