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April 2, 2012

Out West with the BSO: Guest blog post from violinist Greg Mulligan

The Baltimore Symphony spent the weekend in a fabled counterculture center (lots of regular culture there, too, of course). Here's a report from violinist Greg Mulligan on Saturday's multimedia performance fusing a 1928 silent film about Joan of Arc with a contemporary score by Richard Einhorn, part of the BSO's mini-residency at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tonight's concert in Zellerbach Hall on the campus of UC Berkeley was mesmerizing, as it was in Baltimore a few weeks ago.

Richard Einhorn's score beautifully magnifies the intense emotion contained in the silent film from 1928, "The Passion of Joan of Arc." The audience watched and listened silently, befitting the quiet intensity of much of the film, and gave all the performers a nice ovation.

This time the BSO performed with the women and men of the UC Choral Ensembles. I enjoyed their beautiful singing, especially the many sections reminiscent of very early vocal music, with one voice's melody chanting over a static pedal in another voice.

Kudos to Marin and to our staff for making all the arrangements with the local singers, and for creating and leading a cohesive ensemble for the audience's (and our) pleasure.

As a side note, ...

what a cool place Berkeley is! From the many street musicians and used book/record stores to the great restaurants and a bar with a live salsa band, and the beautiful campus and residential neighborhoods, Berkeley seems to have it all. I have really enjoyed our time here.

-- Greg Mulligan


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:04 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: BSO, Clef Notes, Marin Alsop

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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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