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Fort Wayne Philharmonic Performs at MU

Charlaine Grosse
Staff Writer

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic presented a concert at Cordier Auditorium on Sunday, Feb. 3, with Crossing the Stream.

The event was sponsored by Manchester University, Poet Biorefining and the Timbercrest Senior Living Community.

Six members of the Freimann Ensemble played a wide range of dynamic of works to warm up the audience’s ears.

Crossing the Stream opened with a lyrical string orchestra by Elgar, the “Serenade For Strings and E Minor, Op. 20” and wraps up with the “Symphony No. 82 In C Major, ‘The Bear’” of Haydn. In between, there were two very different Finnish works, Sibelius’ “Belshazzar’s Feast, Op. 51” and Tiensuu’s “Puro,” an avant garde concerto that incorporated both startling effects and improvisation.

MacDonald is a fixture at chamber music, opera, studio, pop and orchestral music venues throughout the Midwest. He has performed solo and chamber music recitals in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Mexico City, Oberlin, Seattle, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and Houston. In addition to his duties with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, MacDonald is an active chamber musician and performer of new music.

“What might be happening in the Tiensuu, is that there are lots of those things that people might not be familiar with, there are lots of things that the audience has probably never heard before," MacDonald said. "There are passages where I’m playing more than one note at one time. Sometimes two, sometimes three notes, sometimes four notes, all at the same time. There are lots of manipulations that I’m doing, using non traditional fingerings, and things like that, allow me to get one of these effects.” He continued: “My impressions of the piece, are that, it’s like a sonic journey essentially, there are a lot of sounds that the audience may not be familiar with, in terms of what the soloist has to do, and what many of the members of the orchestra have to do. Be open to where it’s going, from where it’s starts, to where it takes you, and right alongside, to these new and more untraditional sounds that the audience may hear, there are very traditional uses of the instruments.

Indeed, some people from the audience agreed with MacDonald as regards the original sounds, like Rehab Dahab, a sophomore majoring in psychology. "I was really surprised by the clarinet solo part," Dahab said. "When I came to see the Phil Chamber Orchestra Performance, I was expecting something more traditional; this piece was very unexpected but I liked it. Indeed, I think that contemporary pieces, like the Tiensuu one, bring freshness to classical music."

After the intermission, the orchestra was back for the second part with more traditional pieces by Sibelius and Haydn. The first one was exotic and transported the audience on board of an hot and dusty plane. Once landed, the audience could feel the haze and the camels. This musical Saharan trip allowed the audience to feel the wonderful heat of the desert, led by the flutes of the snake charmers.

Finally, the last piece of this second part, called "The Bear" took the audience back to the Paris of the 18th century.

"This is the pocket size version of the Orchestra, but it gives you a good preview of the eclecticism of our program," said Andrew Constantine, Music Director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, who brought with him a reputation gained in Europe and the United Kingdom.

“No two people have the same experience of classical music," he said. "Our interpretation draws on personal insights, memories and feelings. The challenge is to persuade more people to go to concerts and discover this for themselves."

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