Three standing ovations…that is correct…three standing ovations for the Canton Symphony Orchestra that occured last night at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall during the season opener “Scottish Fantasy” concert under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann. The nearly sold-out crowd was quick to show their love and appreciation for “Canton’s Own” at the conclusion of each work.
The Symphony began the concert with their traditional rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” in which nearly everyone sang along. As we settled in and got comfortable after a short and humorous talk by the conductor concerning his trip to Scotland, the sound of bagpipes and drums playing “Scotland the Brave” came billowing out from behind us. The four pipers and two drummers of the “Celtic Eagle Pipe Band” then marched to the front as the Orchestra joined in for Eric Benjamin’s Marches and Airs.
The work incorporates a number of traditional Scottish tunes including “The Blue Bells of Scotland”, “Highland Cathedral”, “1,000 Pipers”, “Skye Boat Song” and “Mull of Kintyre”. During the piece the orchestra and pipers traded off back and forth then would join together with a flourish. It was inspiring even if you were not of Scottish heritage. The pipers marched out at the end to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
Next on the program was a work by Max Brunch titled “Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46” that was done in four parts using the influence of such traditional tunes as “Auld Rob Morris”, “Hey, the Dusty Miller”, “I’m a-Doun for Lack o’ Johnnie” and “Scots wha hae”. It featured the incomparable William Preucil on violin. Mr. Preucil is the world renowned Concert Master for the Cleveland Orchestra and he was certainly up to task for this challenge. Throughout this complex piece made up of four movements, Mr. Preucil showed his absolute mastery of the violin.
Of special note was the use of a harp that was positioned center stage front and played by Nancy Paterson. During the course of the work there was an intriguing duet between violin and harp that was phenomenal. Again, the audience was quick to express their joy with a standing ovation for this exquisite performance.
After a short intermission, the Orchestra returned with “Symphony No. 3 in a minor, OP. 56 “Scottish” by Felix Mendelssohn that is in four movements. This work was inspired by a visit to the Scottish Palace of Hollyrood by the composer in the spring of 1829. However, it was not until January 20, 1842 that the finishing touches were put on the work and it was ready for performance.
As the story goes, Mendelssohn tried in vain to distance himself from the traditional Scottish Aires by feigning the use of any traditional Scottish tunes or bagpipe-ish influences. In spite of his best efforts of simply making this work a “recollection of impressions” of his visit to Hollyrood the piece is known as “Scottish” and audience and critics alike claim to hear Scottish bagpipe tunes, reminiscence of the Scottish moors and highlands as well as the gathering of the clans (perhaps the ghosts of the palace where stronger muses than Felix wished to admit). As the work reached its triumphant close with full orchestra working feverously the audience once again rose to their feet in gratitude for a job well done.
Needless to say, it was an evening of wonderful music that had a traditional feel to it. You owe it to yourself to discover what Canton already knows…that the Canton Symphony Orchestra is a world class collection of fine musicians who wish to share their love of the classics.
Lastly, a special shout out to Brett and Callum Amacher whom I met at the concert last night. Twelve year old Callum and his father work together as music critics of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. You can find their comments on their blog: http://www.callumndad.com/. Callum also posts on YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/bamaonu2b, as well as a variety of social media sites. They also team up for a program at local area libraries called “Symphony Sneak Peek” that they hope will introduce more people to the joy of classical music in general and the Canton Symphony Orchestra in particular. Great meeting you guys last night and keep up the good work.
2013-2014 Masterwork Concerts by the Canton Symphony Orchestra
November 3, 2013
Friends and Family
November 24, 2013
The Americans Part I:
The Search for Identity
January 25, 2014
February 16, 2014
A Béla, a Bartόk and a Surprise
March 22, 2014
The Planets – an HD Odyssey
April 26, 2014
Tickets for the concert range from $25-$45. There are senior, student and group discounts available. Dress is casual and the concert is appropriate for ages 8 and older. Tickets and the full concert season schedule are available online at www.CantonSymphony.org, by calling 330-452-2094, at the box office window located inside the Cultural Center for the Arts (weekdays 10am-2pm), or by walk-up. Some concerts do sell out in advance.
The orchestra has also implemented “Student Rush” pricing this year. Beginning one hour prior to any MasterWorks concert, students may purchase any available ticket for only $10 when they show a valid student ID at the Box Office.
Founded in 1937, the Canton Symphony Orchestra is a fully professional ensemble and organization dedicated to performing concerts that enrich, educate and entertain. Under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann, the orchestra performs classical, pops, holiday, and educational programs. Most performances are in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, 2323 17th Street NW, Canton, Ohio (at McKinley High School across from C.T. Branin Natatorium). Parking at McKinley High School is free. For more information, please visit www.CantonSymphony.org