Second Thoughts

Second Thoughts
By Henry C. Mayer

"Viva Espana" Concert Delights Local Music Lovers

An unforgettable piece by the 20th century Spanish composer, Manuel De Falla, Night in the Gardens of Spain, might well describe the opening Masterworks Concert by the Louisville Orchestra. An imaginatively decorated and lighted stage greeted the audience as they arrived. Maestro Bradgado-Darman chose a program that would let local music lovers realize some of the deep inspiration Spain has provided composers. A Spaniard himself, his direction made for a vivid and audience pleasing performance. For many, it will be unforgettable. It should also not be forgotten that the concert was sponsored through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. David Jones.

Two other memory-sticking featured the program. Guest artist Angel Romero showed why he is Spain's premier guitarist via a scintillating presentation of Rodrigo's "Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra."

The other highlight might be headlined "Local Musician's Composition is Delightful." Trombonist Raymond Holton joined the orchestra in 1971, when he was only eighteen. This year, he completed work on "Fanfare for Three Trombones and Orchestra." The audience enjoyed it greatly. Some remembered cheering his Dad's athletic feats for Manual and the Louisville Colonels.

Spain is a nation with at least eight distinct sub-cultures, from the Basque Country in the North to Andalusia in the South. So for a composer who is not a native Spaniard to portray something of the Spanish spirit in a way that it has lasting value is a work of genius. Yet at least three persons did it and their works completed Maestro Bradgado-Darman's program. They were Chabrier's "España," Ravel's "Alborada Del Graciso" and the Russian Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espagnol." They were delightfully different but distinctly Spanish. None of the composers lived in Spain but some of Ravel's family apparently did.

It was an enchanting one hundred minutes and the audience response was enthusiastic for each piece to the point of giving Maestro Bradgado-Darman, Señor Romero, and Raymond Holton a standing ovation.

Writer's Note: Maestro Bragado-Darman's decision to leave is not welcome news. Louisville has been privileged to have had a gentleman of deep and abiding artistry with singular talent, dedication and audience rapport. He will not be forgotten; Vaya con Dios, Max!

Questions:

What now very popular opera flopped on its first night? And why did it flop?

What opera will open the coming Kentucky Opera season?

Which opera will feature nine artists in their first Louisville appearance?

The answer is the same for all these questions. The opera is La Traviata (The One Who Strayed)By Giuseppe Verdi.

It flopped because when the soprano announced that she was dying of consumption in the last act, the audience realized she was a woman who weighed 200 pounds.

But since then, it has become an almost universal favorite. The story is semi-autobiographical of its author, the French writer, Alexander Dumas, Jr.

It did not take Verdi long after the book became a play to realize its plot would be a crowd-pleaser and he was so moved that he wrote some of his most beautiful music for it.

It is a love story taking place in the middle 1800's. It has dramatic action, moments of tenderness, a tragic misunderstanding, a reconciliation and How does all this happen? And what else?

Come, see, enjoy and perhaps shed a tear or two. Kentucky Opera's performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, October 24 and Sunday, October 26 at theKentucky Center for the Arts.

Kentucky Center Kicks Off "Thursday Concerts" New Series

The Kentucky Center for the Arts has announced a new 5-event series, called "Thursday Concerts." They will present performers who offer a different approach to classical music. All take place on Thursdays beginning at 8 p.m.

A brilliant young Canadian quartet opens this series with a double treat of ice cream. Yes, ice cream! Their name, Quaretto Gelato, literally means the Ice Cream Quartet. After their concert, every audience member is invited to an Italian ice cream party.

Their musical program also promises a special treat. Each performer can and does play two or three instruments. Claudio Vena is equally at home on the accordion and the viola. Cynthia Steljes is adept and talented with the English horn and the oboe. George Meanwell's talents are with the cello, guitar and mandolin. Peter De Sotto has a remarkable tenor voice, plus the talent of a gifted violinist.

Ms. Steljes says, "We have great fun with classical music - and we-want our audiences to do the same."

The other Thursday events are as follows: On January 22, B. J. Ward presents a fascinating combination of a beautifully controlled voice with a comic routine reminiscent of Carol Burnett.

On February 12, free tango lessons will come with a concert by Juan Jose Mosalini and his 11-piece chamber orchestra, direct from Paris. They received a warm reception there for their gifted and imaginative playing. Señor Mosalini is considered the uncontested champion of the tango in all its variety.

On March 12, Cello is four beautiful young women who make up the only cello quartet in the USA. Their brilliant technique and "charismatic" renderings at such places as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall and the Kennedy Center drew critical raves.

On April 16, meet the Bang On A Can All Stars. These highly gifted, six young men and women from New York have consistently won critics and concert-goers. They are champions of new American music.

Intrigued? Interested? Find out more; call 584-7777 Find out how to get five concerts for the price of four.