Performed at the shiny relatively new Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on the Bard campus, these concerts have naturally been well-received, and the next one up is likely to be a big draw. This weekend, Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23, the ASO will open its 2010/11 season with renditions of Rachmaninoff’s rarely performed First Piano Concerto, as well as Bard Conservatory of Music student Conor Brown’s Clarinet Concerto. Soloists will include David Krakauer on clarinet and Conservatory student Chi-Hui Yen on piano.
Continuing the two-year series, the orchestra will also perform a piece that has turned an awful lot of young people on to Beethoven since its appearance in Walt Disney’s animated classic Fantasia in 1940: Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, subtitled “Pastoral Symphony, or Recollections of Country Life.” Whether the opening strains conjure images of capering centaurs or simply an “awakening of cheerful feelings upon arriving in the country,” as the composer’s notations would have us experience, this is a composition that rarely fails to lift the listener’s spirits. With its calls of the nightingale, quail and cuckoo in the “Scene by the Brook” and its obvious thunderstorm and peasant dance segments, it’s clearly Beethoven’s most “programmed” symphony, but only the most curmudgeonly Abstract Expressionist would hold that against him. Come hear the Sixth again, performed by a top-notch orchestra, and feel a week’s worth of stress melt away; it’s like a massage for the ears.
The concert begins both nights at 8 p.m. A pre-concert talk by Robert Martin, director of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets go for $20, $30 and $35. Call (845) 758-7900 or visit the Fisher Center website at fishercenter.bard.edu to purchase tickets or for further information.