Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins Leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, Jan. 16

Assistant Principal Oboist Shea Scruggs makes his solo debut in Vivaldi’s Oboe Concerto in D Minor

Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins will direct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a Baroque concert featuring Handel’s celebratory Music for the Royal Fireworks as part of the Casual Concert Series on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11 a.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Assistant Principal Oboist Shea Scruggs, who joined the BSO this season, will make his solo debut in Vivaldi’s Oboe Concerto in D Minor. Also on the program is Carlo Farina’s Capriccio stravagante and J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3, which features the famous “Air on a G String.”

German-born George Frideric Handel spent most of his life living in London composing operas and oratorios such as the beloved Messiah. Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749) is one of two famous instrumental works (the other is Water Music) that Handel composed for King George I. Music for the Royal Fireworks was originally intended to be performed outside during a fireworks display celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. During the Baroque era, wind and brass instruments were included in orchestral music mainly for outdoor and celebratory events. Since this ensemble requires an unusually large number of wind and brass instruments for the time, the festivities must have been quite elaborate.

J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 is a Baroque dance suite that was composed in the 18th century. The suite is comprised of five movements, the second of which, “Air,” is one of the most well known musical movements of all time. German violinist August Wilhelmj (1845-1908) arranged “Air” for the violin, which has come to be known as “Air on a G String.” Since then, this movement has been arranged for multiple ensembles and solo instruments, and is often performed at weddings.

Antonio Vivaldi is famous for having written hundreds of concerti. Such a prolific production in a musical genre required not only talent, but also an ability to create a formal structure that could be used multiple times to produce fresh results. Vivaldi’s concerti are recognizable for their ritornello form, which alternates tutti (“all” or “together” in Italian, meaning full ensemble) with solo passages. Typically the tutti passages are repeated to give a sense of stability or “return” (ritornello means “return” in Italian), while the solo passages are more virtuosic and exploratory. Newcomer to the BSO and assistant principal oboist Shea Scruggs will make his solo debut with the Orchestra in Vivaldi’s Oboe Concerto in D Minor.

Carlo Farina (1600-1639) was an Italian Baroque composer. Well-known for his virtuosic abilities on the violin, Farina not only contributed many works to the violin repertoire, but also helped to extend violin technique. Capriccio stravagante (1627) highlights the violin’s virtuosic abilities as Farina calls on the instrument to imitate animal sounds, as well as the sounds of other instruments.

Casual Concert: Royal Fireworks Music
Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Madeline Adkins, leader and violin
Shea Scruggs, oboe

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3
Vivaldi: Oboe Concerto in D Minor
Carlo Farina: Capriccio stravagante
Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks

Tickets for these performances range from $25 to $35 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

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