To better appreciate the upcoming Chinese National Symphony Orchestra concert presented by the Knox Concert Series on Jan. 19, attend a class on symphony orchestra basics in the library’s Ayers Room on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Michael Gagliardo, the conductor and director of Etowah Symphony Orchestra and the JSU University/Community Orchestra will give an overview of classical music history, the role of the conductor, concert etiquette and more in this free class that is open to the public.
Simply put, a symphony is a piece of music played by at least 60 to 70 instrumentalists under the direction of a conductor. A symphony has four movements — or sections — and, according to “Great Symphonies” by Sigmund Spaeth, every symphony should have a musical plot in which each movement is like an act in a play.
The class is offered at just the right time during the Knox season because two master composers of symphonic literature are represented in the Jan. 19 program. Both Tchaikovsky and Beethoven are known for combining melodic beauty, spectacular orchestration and human appeal in their symphonies. It should be a very enjoyable concert.
“Piano Concerto No. 1,” still popular today, is by Russia’s Tchaikovsky, who also wrote six symphonies and smaller works, including the “Nutcracker Suite.” Beethoven is generally considered to be the greatest of all symphony composers and broke ground in this musical category with his nine symphonies. His “Symphony No. 7,” widely viewed as the “Dance Symphony,” is on the concert’s program. Its continuous rhythm makes it irresistible, according to Spaeth. This piece has also been said to show the influence of Irish music on the German composer.
The first movement of “Earth Requiem“ by composer Xia Guan, also on the program, was written in remembrance of the devastating Sichuan earthquake of 2008.
CAST presents “Crimes of the Heart”
The next production by CAST will be the Southern comedy “Crimes of the Heart.” Due to casting difficulties with “Private Lives,” which had been the next scheduled performance, the theater has selected this work by Mississippi native Beth Henley. It centers around three sisters in crisis who reunite at their grandfather’s home in Hazlehurst, Miss. The trio is surviving their tragedies, and eventually each must face the consequences of her own “crime of the heart.”
“Crimes” opens Feb. 7 and runs two weekends, ending Feb. 17. The evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. There will be no Saturday matinees.
“This play is high spirited, honest, quirky and just plain funny,” said Kim Dobbs, the theater’s artistic director. It won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1981, as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play the same year.
Actresses selected for the four female roles are Rachael Walker as Lenny, Michelle Bain as Chick, Maggie Beam as Meg and Kimberly Davenport as Babe. The parts of Doc Porter and Barnette were still open as of Tuesday, Jan. 1. If interested in auditioning, call Dobbs at 256-820-CAST.
Hervey Folsom is a longtime supporter of the arts in Calhoun County and has been writing about them for The Star since 1971. She can be contacted at email@example.com.