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May 7, 2009

Annapolis Symphony announces colorful programming for 09-10 season

Since Jose-Luis Novo's arrival as music director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra a few years ago, the ensemble has boasted some very imaginative, sophisticated programming. The lineup for the 2009-2010 season reiterates that point.

Consider, for example, the selections planned for a March presentation. It's got a title, of course -- orchestras these days just love marketing programs under cute titles. This one is called "Spring Awakening," naturally enough, but the title actually fits, and not just because it contains the unsurprising Spring Symphony by Schumann. The program will open with the endearing Blumine (Flower Piece) movement that Mahler ultimately took out of his Symphony No. 1. Also in the mix: Voices of Spring, one of the great waltzes by Johann Strauss, whose music is criminally ignored by most orchestras, except for the occasional pops outing. And there's also room for the lyrical Violin Concerto by Korngold, which represents the sensual side of spring as well as anything (the soloist will be Elissa Lee Koljonen). Nothing earth-shattering perhaps on its own, but a very attractive combination.

Throughout the season, thoughtfully chosen repertoire is the rule. A February offering, for example, takes its cue from a war horse, Ravel's Bolero, and spices things up by balancing it with other "Sexy Sounds" (like I said, they just can't resist gimmicky titles) that are less commonly programmed, including Franck's Psyche et Eros, Richard Strauss' Dance of the Seven Veils, Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin and Piazzolla's Tangazo

Even a program with Beethoven's evergreen Seventh Symphony gets some fresh company in the form of pieces by Milhaud and Shostakovich. The season-opener features Haydn's Drum Roll Symphony and Tchaikovsky's Fourth, but with Weber's Clarinet Concerto the less standard item in between (the soloist is Anthony McGill). 

Rounding out the season will be a program that includes a Mozart symphony, Elgar's Enigma Variations and a work by the infrequently encountered 20th century composer Andre Caplet. 

All in all, a sign of how seriously Novo approaches the job, and how much the orchestra and its audiences stand to gain.   


Posted by Tim Smith at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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