Cameron University Civic Symphony to present fall concert

The Cameron University Civic Symphony will present a fall concert in the McCutcheon Recital Hall on Tuesday, October 8. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens/military/K-12 students. Admission is free to Cameron University students, faculty and staff with valid CU ID.

Conducted by Dr. Kirsten Underwood, the Cameron University Civic Symphony is made up of CU students and faculty, area community members, current and retired music educators, and local high school students  from Lawton and Altus, Lawton Public Schools strings faculty, and qualified high school students.

Cameron students Kavauzie Banks, Claudia Garcia, Xavier McClure, Kylee Sohl, Gracelyn Sullivan and Cheyenne Vaigrt, all of Lawton, will be joined by areal high school students Sidney Halbrooks, Catherine Johnson and Charlee Juarez. Other members of the Lawton Civic Symphony are community members Dolores Anderson, Susan Diekman, Ann-Mary Hartman and Kevin Liticker as well as CU faculty members Barbara Pickthorn and Dr. Claudio Re. Lawton Public Schools Director of Strings and Cameron adjunct faculty member Kathy Liticker serves as Concertmaster.

 The concert will cover a wide array of music.

“Although diverse in style and tempo, these pieces transition seamlessly to take the audience on a musical journey that evokes a wide range of emotions,” Underwood says.

The program will begin with “Chorale and Minuet” composed by J.S. Bach, arranged by Elliot Del Borgo.  “The performance of a Bach chorale tune is a soothing and beautiful way to begin a concert, and the tune of the cheerful minuet will be recognized by all attending,” Underwood says.

Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Strings in E minor, RV 134” will follow. Known primarily as the composer of the Four Seasons concertos for solo violin, Vivaldi was a prolific composer for string ensemble, completing about 500 concertos alone.  Reviewers during his day used terms such as “a transcendent music” and “perfection” to describe performances of Vivaldi’s compositions at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà.

Of this concerto, Underwood says, “An amazing range of colors and sonorities are achieved through Vivaldi’s groupings of the instruments in the three movements of this work.  Because it is a concerto for strings, rather than a soloist, all the players are able to shine.”

The ensemble will next perform an arrangement by Bingiee Shiu of Giovanni Battista Sammartini’s “Symphony No. 4.” Also in three movements, it is one of 74 symphonies by the composer.  Sammartini is mostly praised for his innovations in the development of the symphony. As noted by Philip Downs in “Classical Music,” Czech composer Joseph Mysliveček considered Sammartini to be "the father of Haydn's style," a popular perspective that elevated Sammartini's reputation after his death.

“Driven by rhythm and clear form, Sammartini’s works never cease to be inventive,” Underwood says.

The Sammartini symphony will be followed by two movements, the “Italiana” and the “Passacaglia,” from Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite 3. Born in 1879, Respighi was an accomplished musicologist, conductor and composer who was vitally interested in Italian music of the 16th through 18th centuries.  This interest led him to transcribe pieces originally written for lute or guitar.  The “Italiana” is based on a tune by an anonymous early music composer, and the “Passacaglia” on a tune written by Lodovico Roncalli in 1692.

Underwood is enthusiastic when talking about these movements, saying, “Respighi’s lush, resonating writing for strings is a joy to hear!”

The concert will conclude with two modern works.

“Diversions on Folklike Tunes” is by Theron Kirk, composer of more than 1,000 published works for chorus, chamber groups, symphony orchestra, vocal solo, organ, carillon, as well as a one-act opera. “Diversions” contains four short movements, each contributing its own perspective on the meaning of “folklike tunes.” 

The concert will close with “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar, which was featured throughout Ken Burns’ documentary television series, “The Civil War.” Although often thought to have been composed during the Civil War, it was written by Ungar in 1982. Concertmaster Kathy Liticker begins this piece playing the theme as a solo, with the rest of the orchestra joining her to complete the performance.

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#19-149

October 1, 2019