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Nashua Chamber Orchestra Winter Concert will be March 8 and 9 at Nashua Community College and Milford Town Hall, respectively

Thursday, February 27, 2014

NASHUA and MILFORD – The Nashua Chamber Orchestra, with music director David Feltner, presents a spirited program of works by Mueller, Beethoven, Prokofiev and Haydn, featuring piano soloist Sang Woo Kang.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, in the Judd Gregg Hall at Nashua Community College, 505 Amherst St., and at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 9, in the Milford Town Hall, 1 Union Square on the Milford Oval.

Max Mueller, born in 1995, is an ambitious young composer from Cleveland, Ohio, and completed his undergraduate studies in Los Angeles, focusing on film scoring and helping to reconstruct older movie scores for modern films.

In 2011, Mueller founded On the Verge, an organization that provides mentors for high school students to compose short pieces based on literary excerpts, culminating in a live performance. In his dual role as film composer and music educator, Mueller believes that film music is the cultural intermediary for young people to develop a taste for classical music. His fanfare is an appealing piece with interesting harmonies, orchestral textures and rhythmic variety. It is somewhat suggestive of the music of Aaron Copland and John Williams. Originally written for string orchestra and piano, the composer expanded it to the full orchestra version heard on this program.

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “prodigiously talented pianist with great technical virtuosity and interpretive gifts,” Sang Woo is a graduate of the Juilliard School, with a doctorate in musical arts from the Eastman School of Music. As an associate professor and chair of the department of music at Providence College, Woo balances his teaching career with performances and master classes in Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and the U.S.

Upcoming events include chamber, solo and orchestral concerts in New York, Providence, Chicago and Boston. He appears with the NCO in the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Opus 19 (1798), by Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven performed an early version of this Concerto in Vienna, in March 1795, where it achieved immediate acclaim. Actually written before the C major concerto known as No. 1, No. 2 was revised by Beethoven and reissued three years later in 1798. Although retaining much of the idiom of classical style, it evinces the dynamic majesty of Beethoven’s unmistakable voice, ushering in a new era.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), an innovator easily recognizable by his trademark mischievous humor, was viewed in his day as a musical prankster who mocked his traditional conservatory education.

He was already famous when he conducted the premiere of his first symphony in 1918. He called it the “Classical Symphony,” because it was, in his words, “as Haydn might have written it, had he lived in our day.” Employing the musical idiom and orchestration of an 18th century symphony, Prokofiev transformed its character and mood.

This NCO program features the second and third movements, Larghetto and Gavotte. The prim Larghetto has a tongue-in-cheek air with its crisp pizzicato theme, abrupt key changes and dotted rhythms. Instead of the customary minuet, Prokofiev chose the gavotte of French Baroque dance suites for his third movement, again cloaking the traditional form in contemporary stylistic nuances. The “Classical Symphony” has become one of Prokofiev’s most popular works, with old-world charm overlaid with contemporary style and wit.

The symphonies of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) are a treasure trove of musical delights, all representative of a particular genre, yet each a unique gem, full of surprises. Foremost among them are the 12 London Symphonies (No. 93-104), two sets of six each, written for his two highly successful trips to London. The second set opens with Symphony No. 99 in E-flat Major, composed in 1793. Haydn directed its premiere in 1794, seated at the fortepiano.

The Morning Chronicle proclaimed that “The genius of Haydn, astonishingly inexhaustible and sublime, was the general theme.” Sparkling with spontaneous joy, vitality and humor, the interplay between groups of instruments is especially sublime, as is the poignant lyricism of the beautiful slow movement.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at Darrell’s Music Hall in Nashua and the Toadstool Bookstore in Lorden Plaza, Milford. Prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $8 for students. Children 12 and younger are free. For more information,check the website, www.nco- or call 582-5211.

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