Saturday, February 24, 2018

'Bach to the Future!' plays it close to the heart

By Anntoinette Moore
Feb. 7, 2018 at 10:30 p.m.

Clarinetist Chad Burrow

The music of love will fill the air at the next Longview Symphony concert, "Bach to the Future" at 7 p.m. Feb. 10, just in time for that most romantic of holidays, Valentine's Day. It takes place at the Belcher Center at LeTourneau University Longview.

Conductor Gene H. Moon has chosen pieces inspired by love to be performed in an intimate setting. While audiences typically see 60 to 70 musicians on stage, this concert will feature no more than about 25, he said.

"It harkens back to when music was written for fewer instruments and was played in a space similar to our modern-day living rooms," Moon said during a phone interview.

"Bach to the Future" also will feature Chad Burrow as soloist on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major.

"The clarinet is one of my favorite instruments. I've known (Burrow) for nearly 20 years. He's a dear friend and an absolutely stunning clarinetist," Moon said.

Burrow said the concerto "is very close to my heart."

"This concerto … is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written," he said during a phone interview as he was driving to a concert appearance in Detroit.

"It's the first piece that I played with an orchestra, as a soloist," Burrow said, adding that it's also special because he will play under the direction of his longtime friend.

When he was in the fourth grade, Burrow went to a "young person's concert" performed by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

"I fell in love with the music. I wanted to be one of the people on the stage," he said.

Burrow wanted to play the oboe in his sixth-grade band. But his school required him to first play either the clarinet or saxophone. He chose the clarinet.

"I found that I had an affinity for it," he said. "The clarinet became my passion."

Moon said another concert piece has been on his bucket list for a while: Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's Concerto in E Flat (Major), also known as "Dumbarton Oaks."

"Stravinsky lived in America for a little bit. He was enraptured by a family that invited him to their estate. They were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, and he wrote that piece to commemorate their anniversary," Moon said.

Their estate – Dumbarton Oaks – was in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. The couple were Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss; today their estate is the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, part of Harvard University.

Though Stravinsky was a 20th century composer, "Dumbarton Oaks" pays homage to classical music icons Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn and Bach. Stravinsky specifically pays tribute to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Moon said.

That concerto is also part of the Feb. 10 program, allowing symphonygoers to first hear Bach's original, then listen for its echoes in Stravinsky's piece.

The fourth work to be performed is another variation on the theme of love. "The Siegfried Idyll" by German composer Richard Wagner was a birthday present for his wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son, Siegfried, Moon said.

"It premiered on Christmas. She woke up to this piece being played in their living room" by a small orchestra, he added.



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