Evergreen Chamber Orchestra celebrates fall with special guest

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By Sara Miller

The Evergreen Chamber Orchestra presents its fall concert on Nov. 23. The afternoon program features two unique solo pieces for flute and guitar, as well as a lively and varied orchestral program.

The orchestra is pleased to welcome Masakazu Ito, who is recognized as one of today’s top guitarists, acclaimed by musicians, composers, conductors and critics for his mastery of the instrument and its repertoire.

The afternoon begins with the “Overture to Candide.” The piece is the overture to Leonard Bernstein’s operetta “Candide.” Although the operetta never achieved the mainstream popularity of “West Side Story,” the overture has earned a part in the orchestral repertoire. Since its first concert performance in 1957, the overture has become one of the most frequently performed orchestral compositions by a 20th-century American composer.

Following this four and a half minute overture, the orchestra will perform Alberto Ginastera’s “Suite from Estancia.” The Estancia ballet suite is a fascinating piece of ballet music, weaving the colorful rhythms of South American music with lush orchestration. Imagine Ravel’s “Bolero” mixed with Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” and you’ll have a feel for the mastery of Ginastera.

For many, it is impossible to tire of the mastery of Handel, but for some, a small departure is refreshing. In the case of the ECO’s concert, the orchestra will perform Mozart’s “Water Music” as arranged by 17th-century composer George Philipp Telemann.

Carl Reinecke’s “Ballad for Flute and Orchestra” will feature the ECO’s principal flutist, Melba Pahl. Although Reinecke composed more than 300 works during his lifetime, including two operas, he is best known for his pieces such as the flute sonata “Undine” and this ballad featuring the woodwind instrument.

The second half of the program will start with the rousing “Danza de Panama.” As the title implies, “Danza de Panama” derives its melodies from Panamanian dance themes collected by acclaimed American composer Elisabeth Waldo. William Grant Still, an African-American classical composer from Mississippi, took Waldo’s dance themes and cast them for string orchestra. Still made every effort to approximate the sounds of native instruments with his string arrangement.

Finally, the afternoon will close with a performance by renowned guitarist Masakazu Ito. Ito has performed throughout the world and currently holds a position at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where he received his master’s degree.

Ito will perform the “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo with the orchestra. “Everyone loves this beautiful concerto, the slow movement of which has been transcribed for many different groups, and even used in Chick Corea's arrangement of ‘Spain,’ ” says ECO publicity chair and musician Betty Johnson. “It should be a wonderful afternoon all around.”

If you go ...

Evergreen Chamber Orchestra Concert

Rockland Community Church

17 S. Mount Vernon Country Club Road, Golden (I-70 exit 254 [Genesee exit])

Sunday, Nov. 23, at 3 p.m.

Tickets: adult/general, $12; senior (60-plus), $10; student, $7. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by calling 303-670-6558.

For more information, visit www.evergreenchamberorch.org.