The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plainfield Symphony opens 92nd season Saturday

Bartok's concerto is considered a fine example of 'verbunkos',
a Hungarian dance style performed by both Magyars and Gypsies.
Under the leadership of its dynamic new music director, Charles Prince, the Plainfield Symphony opens its 92nd season Saturday with an ambitious program featuring Bartok's 2nd Violin Concerto and Schumann's Symphony No. 4.

Prince has led the orchestra to venture into new territory with great success, wowing audiences last year with both Mahler's First Symphony and the Verdi Requiem.

Saturday's program continues to introduce technically challenging music to a Plainfield audience.

The Bartok piece, composed in the shadow of Fascism's growing menace and the runup to World War II -- this in 1936 -- is considered a fine example of Verbunkos, an 18th century Hungarian dance style performed by both Magyars and Gypsies and associated with military settings.

Robert Schumann was not only a prolific Romantic composer, he championed such different talents as Chopin and Brahms (whom he is said to have discovered). He also rescued Franz Schubert's Ninth Symphony, the 'Great', from a pile of discarded scores and arranged for its premiere under Felix Mendelssohn.

The Fourth Symphony, in D minor, caused considerable stir over the years with respect to its orchestration. Premiered in 1841, it was reissued in 1851 in a substantially revised orchestration. Though Brahms preferred the earlier version, it was the latter that became standard in the repertoire as the 19th century progressed.

Whichever version is preferred, Schumann is lauded for the way the four movements are completely integrated, which he indicated by his notation that it should be played through without pause.

The 92nd season will also feature Beethoven's beloved 5th Symphony in an upcoming concert as well as an evening devoted to Mahler 'in song and symphony'.

For Plainfield Today readers who may not be regular Symphony patrons, I would like to suggest you consider taking the PSO up on its new marketing effort -- the 'Forever Ticket'.

Taking a page from the Post Office's playbook, the Symphony is offering a $30 non-reserved seating ticket that is good for any performance, any year. This is a great idea worth giving some thought to.

Meanwhile, I'll be there Saturday evening, looking for you!

Plainfield Symphony: Bartok and Schumann
Opening the PSO's 92nd Season

Music Director Charles Prince
Evelyn Estava, Violin

8:00 PM Concert
Saturday, October 1

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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