The Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra will kick off its Music of Legend season
with "Hymns and Highlands," a concert with works by Mendelssohn, Bruch, Cowell and Chadwick.
This will be the first subscription concert of the 2007-2008 season, and it will be conducted by
Music Director Kate Tamarkin. The concert will be on Saturday, October 6 at 8:00pm, with a second
performance on Sunday, October 7 at 3:30pm.
The concert will start with a well-known piece by Felix Mendelssohn, the Hebrides Overture.
Mendelssohn, a German Romantic composer, wrote the overture in 1830 after a visit to the Scottish
seaside. The repeated opening theme is suggestive of waves, and the composer himself wrote that he
aimed for the feel of "train oil, gulls and salted cod." Mendelssohn's bass and cello lines are
soothing, while his signature energetic violins radiate optimism. One of the 19th century's most
important musical figures, Mendelssohn is also famous for the "Scottish" and "Italian" symphonies
and the "Elijah" Oratorio.
Max Bruch, also of German origin, was strongly influenced by Mendelssohn. Bruch wrote his "Scottish
Fantasy" in 1880 based on Scottish folk melodies. The compelling violin melody varies between triumph
and sorrow, and the orchestra mirrors and augments these themes. Bruch, best known for his Violin
Concerto, drew much of his inspiration from the folk music of Scotland, Sweden and Russia. He went
on to teach other influential composers including Ottorino Respighi and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
David Colwell will be performing Bruch's Scottish Fantasy with the Symphony. Mr. Colwell is the
concertmaster for the Symphony. He also co-directs the student chamber music program at the
University and teaches private violin lessons. Mr. Colwell has had an impressive career,
including a solo debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at age 14. In 1998 and 1999, he spent
two summers at the Mozarteum's Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria after winning scholarships from
the Johann Strauss Foundation. He spent the summers of 2004 and 2005 studying and performing at the
Ravinia Festival in Chicago. Mr. Colwell holds degrees from the Yale School of Music and the
University of Alberta.
"Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 2" is the second in a series of 18 such pieces written by American
composer Henry Cowell between 1943 and 1964. Cowell is best known for his experimental works,
many of which are atonal or polytonal. A social and artistic radical, he spent four years in prison
on a "morals" charge stemming from his bisexuality. Possibly as a result of his imprisonment,
Cowell's later works are considered more subdued and traditional than his earlier ultra-modernist
pieces. The "Hymn and Fuguing" series, written towards the end of his career, is based on American
folk music and songs from his Irish heritage.
The "Tam O'Shanter" ballad by George Whitefield Chadwick is an exciting and modern work. Written in 1914
during Chadwick's "dramatic" period, the ballad is based on a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns.
The programmatic music tells Burns' story of an inebriated man who experiences hallucinations. It is a
spiritual journey of sorts, and the polytonal themes reflect the protagonist's plunge into a sensory chaos.
High flutes and pounding drums bring out the dissonances of the piece, which boasts other very interesting
instrumentation. Chadwick is considered an American realist and is known as one of the "Boston Six,"
arguably America's first group of significant composers.
Free pre-concert lectures will be held in Minor Hall starting 45 minutes before each concert. They will be led
by McIntire Department of Music Associate Professor Richard Will. In addition, Ms. Tamarkin will continue her
popular "Noon Notes" lecture series. "Noon Notes" is held each Friday before concert weekends, at noon, in the
Downtown branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.
George Whitefield Chadwick
Scottish Fantasy for Violin & Orchestra
David Calwell, violin
Hymn and Fuguing Tune No.2
Violinist David Colwell talks about his role as concertmaster with the orchestra and the program for the season's first concert at UVa Today.
Click here to listen
Single tickets range from $11 to $28 and can be purchased at the Cabell Hall Box Office at
(434) 924-3984, 12pm to 5pm, Monday through Friday. For more information,