Redoubt Chamber Orchestra to play varied concert

Audiences at Redoubt Chamber Orchestra’s Evening of Classics concert — 7 p.m Friday at Soldotna’s Christ Lutheran Church — will hear a little of the familiar and a bit of the new.

The familiar includes songs that might be known from other places: Paul Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (popularized by Disney’s Fantasia sequence starring Mickey Mouse) and Jay Ungar’s melancholy 1982 violin feature “Ashokan Farewell,” used prominently in Ken Burns’ Civil War documentaries.

The unfamiliar includes the dramatic “Movement for Orchestra,” written by Czech-American composer Vaclav Nelhybel in 1967.

“I like to have something the audience knows,” Vollom-Matturro said. “I program something comfortable, and people can relate to it and know it. And then sometimes I try to do things that might be new to them. They will not know this Nelhybel piece for orchestra. So you can grab your audience, and then give them something different.”

The concert will conclude with John Phillips Sousa’s “Washington Post March,” lead by a guest conductor. After the concert’s second-to-last piece, Vollom-Matturro will auction off her baton, and the winner will take the conductor’s stand to lead the march. Not that the players will actually be marching.

Vollom-Matturro said it’s a challenge for an orchestra to play a march — less for the wind players than the strings, who aren’t in the original composition.

“But the fact that we have done this over the years for several years makes it easier for the musicians now to play the march because they get the feel for it,” Vollom-Matturro said. “But you don’t normally play marches with strings and an orchestra.”

Between the full orchestra pieces, members of the orchestra will do solo and ensemble pieces they’ve chosen themselves. These also cover a wide swathe of musical territory.

“I’m playing a waltz trio with a bassoon player and a flute player, and I play clarinet,” Vollom-Matturro said. “There’s a Beethoven trio. Simon Nissen is singing a Sondheim piece. There’s some Chopin. We have some Russian music with violin, flute, and piano. We have a brass trio by Poulenc. We have a Rachmaninoff piano duet. We have a Dvoràk violin solo. We have a trombone duet… A Reinecke trio for french horn, clarinet, and piano. We’re hitting some big-time composers here, and we’ve got French, Russian, Aremenian, everything.”

As for herself, Vollom-Matturro said she “tends to gravitate to the Russian composers.”

“Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich — that music just grabs me,” Vollom-Matturro said. “So I tend to program them often. It’s just great music.”

Aside from the solo and ensemble pieces, Friday’s concert includes one Russian composer getting the full-orchestra treatment: Modest Mussorgsky, represented on the program by his 1958 “Scherzo in B Flat Major.”

Other performances are in store for local listeners. Another group Vollom-Matturo leads, the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, will play a pops concert at the end of the month featuring music by film composer John Williams, famous for scores to movies including Star Wars, Jaws, and Jurassic Park.

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com

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