Alexandria Symphony Presents Brandenburg & Blue
Posted Feb 21, 2023 | ASO News, Events, Press Releases,
Alexandria, VA— The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present a program entitled Brandenburg and Blue on Friday, March 10, 2023 (7:30 p.m.) at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Sunday, March 12, 2023 (3:00 p.m.) at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Under the direction of Music Director James Ross, members of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present music by Bach, Handel and a world premiere by Jonathan Kolm.
Since 2019, ASO has presented one or two of Bach’s Brandenburg suites in its annual chamber concert. This year’s edition, Brandenburg and Blue, weaves the element of water intertwined with the first concerto. The program includes Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 with principals from the orchestra as soloists. The concerto features hunting horns and several period instruments, including a harpsichord. Bach composed the six concertos as a pseudo-job application as a demonstration of his finest work, and they are still regarded as some of the foremost orchestral compositions from the Baroque era.
The program features an excerpt from Handel’s Water Music Suite No. 1. Inspired by water, King George requested a series of pieces that could be performed on the river. The orchestra and attendees boarded barges, listening to the concert while floating downstream.
“Water has been the literal lifeblood of Alexandria and its commerce since at least the 1700s, so a piece that was played on a barge in the Thames on a warm summer night in 1717 mixes compellingly with a new music that traces the path of today’s water through our city from rain, through clogs and solvency, purification, and finally renewal,” says Maestro James Ross. “With the inclusion of horns and oboes in all pieces, this is a program that celebrates the wide openness of water and sound in ringing conversation.”
The program also introduces the world premiere of The Ways of Water, commissioned by the ASO, sponsored by Virginia American Water, and composed by Alexandria-based composer Jonathan Kolm. The music of Jonathan Kolm has been performed across the United States and abroad, winning prizes and awards including the American Prize and the Swan Prize in Music Composition. In addition to his work as a composer and pianist, he teaches composition, piano and music theory at Northern Virginia Community College where he serves as Associate Professor and advocates for various environmental and social causes in the nation’s capital.
“The Ways of Water is a musical reflection and meditation on how water affects us individually and collectively,” says Mr. Kolm. “Each of the five movements uses the water theme in different ways to give the listener a chance to reflect on what how we are all made of water, how we use it in our daily lives, and how it sustains the environments and communities we live in and depend on.”