Berkshire Symphony

Berkshire Symphony

Ronald Feldman, director

The Williams College Department of Music  presents the Berkshire Symphony in concert on Friday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. at the MainStage of the ’62 Center of Theatre and Dance on the Williams College campus. There are also a pre-concert talk with Ronald Feldman in Greylock Hall, next to the theater. These free events are open to the public, reservations can be made through the ’62 Center box office.

Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams is one of the English composer’s best known works. Scored for string orchestra, this work was first performed in 1910 and is the one of the products of Vaughan Williams involvement with traditional English music. A collector of folksongs and editor of church music, this “fantasy” is an extension of this interest. Thomas Tallis, a Tudor composer, is the inspiration and source music of this early twentieth century work.

In a concert that is programmed with pieces that eschew large ensembles, section principals have a chance to shine. Clarinetist Susan Martula, bassoonist Stephen Walt, oboist Carl Jenkins and principal horn Victor Sungarian move to the front of the orchestra for the Sinfonia concertante, K. 297b in E-flat major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, written by the master in 1778 in Paris.

The Concerto in E-flat (Dumbarton Oaks) by Igor Stravinsky was commissioned by the owner of the eponymous estate in and was completed in 1938. This chamber concerto is inspired by J.S. Bach and the Brandenburg Concertos, an exploration of baroque form as interpreted with Stravinsky’s own unique voice.

The Berkshire Symphony horn section is featured in Haydn’s Symphony No. 31 in D Major (“Horn Signal”), composed in 1765, so called because of the horn fanfares at the beginning and end. Originally composed for a reduced orchestra, the work fits perfectly into this symphony concert’s theme of “small is beautiful”.

The Berkshire Symphony is conducted by Ronald Feldman and includes nearly 70 members, half of whom are students and half of whom are professional musicians. The ensemble presents four major concerts each season. In addition to performing the great standards of  orchestral repertoire a recurring theme each year is the performance of contemporary works. Championing the works of living American composers has been an integral part of the mission of the Berkshire Symphony.