The needler in the haystack.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Plainfield does Mahler

Gustav Mahler at 32. His First Symphony was already four years behind him.

The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra does Mahler for the first time ever Saturday night -- specifically Mahler's Symphony No. 1 -- making it a 'first' all around.

Charles Prince, the PSO's new music director has already gotten a couple of outstanding notches on his belt, especially with the Verdi Requiem in the spring and the delicious romp through musical 'borrowing and stealing' by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Charles Ives, as led by Bernstein's daughter Jamie, which in September opened this, the Symphony's 91st season.

The Mahler work is large, make that LARGE, scored for about one hundred instruments, though all are used at once only in the final movement. The front of the church is sure to be crowded with the assembled musical forces.

Even those not thoroughly familiar with Mahler may recognize two themes from his Songs of a Wayfarer as they make their appearances.

And of course everyone will recognize the double bass solo variations on Frere Jacques which opens the third movement -- though perhaps not in the dark, unsettling setting Mahler gives it.

Aficionados will not want to miss Mr. Prince's 'Chat with Charles' which precedes the concert at 7:00 PM, and in which the conductor discusses the works on the evening's concert. This is in the Chapel of Crescent Avenue Prebyterian Church and is free to ticketholders.

Mozart's Violin Concert No. 5 will open the evening, with Evelyn Estava as soloist.

Though Mahler's notations include 'Schleppend' (dragging) for the Symphony's first movement and 'Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen' (Solemn and measured, without dragging) in the Frere Jacques variations, concertgoers will definitely NOT find the PSO's second concert of its 91st season a SCHLEP.

Come on out for what is sure to be a sparkling evening.

Plainfield Symphony: Mahler's First
Continuing the PSO's 91st Season
and Conductor Charles Prince's first full season

7 PM in the chapel, 'Chat with Charles'
8 PM Concert

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church
East 7th Street and Watchung Avenue
(Parking in church lot, on street, or in Swain Galleries lot)

Tickets: $45/Reserved, $25/General admission, $15/Seniors/Students, under 12 free
Info: (908) 561-5140 or visit the PSO website

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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