The Fox Valley Symphony performs classical and pops concerts in Wisconsin's Fox Valley. Our home venue is the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin and we are proud to work with Music Director Brian Groner and over 70 regional musicians. The FVS also has three youth orchestras and an education program. You can visit us at www.foxvalleysymphony.com
Soloist and Principal Flute, Linda Nielsen Korducki
We had a great first concert of 2014! Here is our review from James Chaudoir of University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
"Cold weather didn’t keep
devotees of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra away from their subscription
concert, “Celebrating Women Composers,” on Saturday night. The music selected
formed a rather eclectic program, spanning a wide range of musical history and
The concert opened with a
rendering of a 2008 composition by the American conductor/composer Diane
Wittry, titled “Mists.” Scored for full orchestra, the piece featured numerous
contrasting colors and emotions, from its dark opening, to its brass-laden
climax. While there were occasional moments of musical interest, in all, I
found the piece to be rather lackluster, and deficient in continuity.
The orchestra’s principal
flutist, Linda Nielsen Korducki, was featured soloist for the Concertino for
Flute and Orchestra in D major, by Cécile Chaminade.
From its familiar opening
melody, and through the technically advanced passages, Korducki demonstrated
her complete understanding of the music. She possesses a lovely tone, with
great strength in the low register, and balance throughout the flute’s entire
range. Her articulation was precise as were the rapid scales featured in the
concertino’s middle section.
A rich fullness was present
in the orchestral accompaniment; a nice balance, supporting, but never
overriding the prominent role of the flute. It was an absolute joy to hear this
time-honored work so beautifully played by an accomplished professional.
The crowning glory of the
evening, however, had to be the performance of the “Gaelic Symphony” by Amy
Beach. This 40-plus minute composition in four movements can truly be
recognized as one of the great symphonies in American musical history.
The orchestra played at its
best while closely adhering to conductor Brian Groner’s expert direction. The
color, harmony, thematic elements and sheer genius of orchestration technique
put this work in a class by itself.
The opening movement,
Allegro con fuoco, was filled with grand and heroic musical gestures. From the
beginning, Beach was able to show her familiarity with orchestration and color,
while reducing the full orchestra to many clearly defined solo passages. In the
case of the first movement, these were primarily found in the principal horn and
clarinet parts, expertly played by Bruce Atwell, principal horn, and
Christopher Zello, principal clarinet.
This idea of “featured”
solos continues into the second movement, Alla Siciliana; Allegro vivace, in
three part form, alternating from the lilt of the siciliano which emphasized
the winds, to a sprightly middle section calling attention to the strings.
The third movement, Lento
con molto espressione, with the emphasis on expressive. The highlight of this
movement was an extended violin solo played beautifully by concertmaster Yuliya
Smead. This solo concludes while being joined in duet with the principal cello,
again, well played by Laura Kenney Henckel. I can’t help but feel that the word
“gorgeous” best describes this movement.
The finale, Allegro di
molto, was filled with motion and rhythmic energy. It is in this movement where
Groner’s direction came to the fore. His tempos were exhilarating, and his
attention to detail brought out the very best that the score had to offer.
was evident that the orchestra was feeling the excitement of playing this
This Saturday, January 25, we start our performance year by celebrating women composers. You will hear pieces from Diane Wittry, Cecile Chaminade and Amy Beach.
Music history, in much the same way as history in general, has
tended to neglect the contributions of women. Think for a moment about
Mozart's elder sister "Nannerl", who was often thought of as having
an even greater gift than her brother. When she reached what was thought
of as a "marriageable age" she was no longer allowed to perform.
Another example would be that of Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of
Felix Mendelssohn. Their music teacher Carl Zelter found Fanny to be the
more gifted of the two but today when we say the name Mendelssohn in musical
circles we make the assumption that we are referring to the younger Felix.
And so, we are presenting a concert of music written by women to
raise awareness of the fact that talent is not based on gender.
The Chaminade is a staple of the flute literature. It is
that wonderful combination of demanding for the performer, and wonderfully
attractive for the listener. Our own principal flute, Linda Nielsen Korducki will be our soloist for the piece!
The Gaelic Symphony of the American composer Amy Beach (Mrs.
H.H.A. Beach) is beautifully written, quite late German Romantic in style and
is a testament to her intellect and persistence. Her story is an
interesting one. She was a true child prodigy, singing and composing
before the age at which most children can speak. She had a career as a
concert pianist, but was not "allowed" to continue performing when
she married but was "allowed" one concert of her own compositions per
year. She is known as the first American female composer of large scale
We will see you tomorrow!
- Brian Groner, FVSO Music Director
The concert is at 7:30pm at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Join us for a pre-concert talk at 6:40pm and a post-concert party in the lobby!