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Bach. Handel. What More Could You Ask Except "The Planets"

Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: Nov 19, 2008 - 10:30:48 PM in news_2008

Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” one of the all-time favorites in the orchestral cosmos, is on the program of Cincinnati Symphony concerts this weekend at Music Hall.

    Hear Mars roar, Venus smile and Saturn chuckle at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20, 11 a.m. Nov. 21 and 8 p.m. Nov. 22 at Music Hall.  CSO music director Paavo Järvi will conduct.  Giving Neptune its mystic allure will be the women of the May Festival Chorus.

   Note: Pluto will be silent, since not only was it discovered after Holst penned his popular score, but in 2006 it was demoted by the International Astronomical Union to "dwarf planet," or simply TNO ("Trans-Neptunian Object"). 

   There will even be an astronomer on board, Dean Regas of the Cincinnati Observatory, who will provide a multi-media introduction to the real planets one hour before the Nov. 21 and 22 concerts.

Julia Fischer
Guest artist will be a bright young star in her own right, German violinist Julia Fischer, who will perform Dvorak’s Violin Concerto.

   The CSO will record "The Planets" for Telarc after the concerts.

   Tickets are $12-$77, $10 for students ($12 the day of the concert), with a 25% discount for seniors (age 62 and over).  Admission to the Nov. 20 concert includes a complimentary pre-concert buffet, beginning at 6:15 p.m. in the Music Hall Ballroom.  To order, call (513) 381-3300, visit www.cincinnatisymphony.org or the Music Hall box office, 1241 Elm St. (open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Monday-Saturday and two hours before performances).


J.S. Bach
George Frederic Handel

   You can’t go wrong with Bach and Handel.

   Both baroque giants are featured on concerts in Greater Cincinnati this weekend.

   Bach’s iconic Bach’s Mass in B Minor will be given an unusual, multimedia presentation by the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Orchestra directed by Earl Rivers at 8 p.m. Friday (Nov. 21) at Knox Presbyterian Church in Hyde Park.  Rivers, director of choral studies and head of the division of ensembles and conducting at CCM, will lead the music with a simultaneous screening of German director Bastian Clev’s film “The Sound of Eternity.”

   A visual interpretation of the B Minor Mass, “The Sound of Eternity” consists of 27 short, dialogue-free films based on the 27-part structure of the music.  Given its U.S. premiere at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2006, the film takes the viewer/listener through rural and urban landscapes described as “a powerful meditation on existence and being, the religious and the unexplainable.”

   Cleve will lead a pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m. before the concert.

   The B Minor Mass, the only complete Mass Bach ever wrote and considered his magnum opus, will be repeated without the film at 3 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 23) at the church.

   Admission is free.

   “Handel with Care” is the theme of concerts by the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Nov. 22 and 3 p.m. Nov. 23 in Greaves Concert Hall at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights.   You might call it a Handel sampler, since the program includes music he wrote for opera, oratorio, instrumental ensemble and even a party for King George I on the Thames River.

   On the podium will be assistant conductor and principal second violinist Thomas Consolo.  (Consolo has led the KSO on school and park concerts, but this is his debut conducting a KSO subscription concert.)  On the program are Sinfonia: “Entrance of the Queen of Sheba” from  the oratorio “Solomon”; Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 12; “Ombra mai fu” from the opera “Xerxes”; “Honour and Arms” from the oratorio “Samson”;  Suite from “Water Music,” “Te Deum Laudamus” (“Queen Caroline”); Concerto  in B-flat Major for Harp and Orchestra; and “The Trumpet Shall Sound” and “Hallelujah” from the oratorio “Messiah.”  (Expect a new twist for “Messiah” by the always creative KSO.)

     Joining Consolo and the orchestra will be the KSO Chorale, University of Kentucky baritone Reginald Smith Jr. and harpist Liya Huang.

   Admission is $28 and $23, with discounts for seniors and students.  To order, call (859) 431-6215 or visit www.kyso.org.

   The CSO Chamber Players open their 2008-09 season at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Nov. 21) in Memorial Hall (downtown on Elm Street next door to Music Hall).  The series, organized by the CSO musicians, features members of the orchestra and guests in select works from the chamber music repertoire. 

   On Friday’s program are:  Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon by Jean Francaix, Duo for Viola and double Bass by Cincinnati composer Frank Proto, Samuel Barber’s “Summer Music” for Wind Quintet and the String Sextet in G Major by Brahms.  Performing the Francaix will be oboist Christopher Philpotts, clarinetist Ronald Aufmann and bassoonist Hugh Michie.  Violist Julian Wilkison and bassist Rick Vizachero will perform Proto’s Duo, with flutist Randolph Bowman, oboist Dwight Parry, clarinetist Ixi Chen, bassoonist Jennifer Monroe and French hornist Lisa Conway in the Barber, and violinists Anna Reider and Chica Kato, violists Scott Slapin and Joanne Wojtowicz and cellists Tao Ni and Daniel Culnan in the Brahms Sextet.

   Tickets are $25, $10 for students at the door, order at www.cincinnatisymphony.org, or call (513) 381-3300.

   MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir led by Catherine Roma, performs at 8 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 22), 3 p.m. Sunday at St. John’s Unitarian-Universalist Church, 320 Resor Ave., Clifton.  The program “No Friend Like a Sister,” will feature a commissioned work, “Rossetti Songs,” by Nicola LeFanu of York, England, plus music by other women composers and singer song-writers.

   Tickets are priced on a sliding scale of $8-$50 ($15 covers one adult and one child) and are available at the church, College Hill Coffee Co. in College Hill, “Shake It” Records in Northside, Sam and Eddie’s Open Books in Yellow Springs, and Epic Bookshop in Living Green.  Free childcare is available with reservations (call 513-221-1118).  For further information, visit www.musechoir.org.