Erie Philharmonic takes over Cole

Categories:  The Arts    News
Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 2:43 PM

The Erie Philharmonic, directed by Daniel Meyer, music director of Erie Philharmonic and Asheville Symphony, put on a free show at Louis C. Cole Auditorium this past week. It was a special night because President Julie Wollman introduced the concert and a few important people were in attendance.

She recognized Lorraine Vitt for her philanthropic gift of $100,000 for the Mrs. Lorraine Vitt Scholarship for Piano and Violin students. This scholarship program offers scholarship opportunities for music students at Edinboro University. Also in attendance was Dr. William P. Alexander, whom the Dr. William P. Alexander Music Center is named after. Alexander is a faculty emeritus of music history and composition. He received the Signature Award presented by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national honorary music fraternity in 2009.

Over the years, he and his wife have supported Edinboro University with over $120,000 dollars in philanthropic donations, resulting in the commemoration of the music center in 2008. He is also responsible for starting the Music Concert Series that is still going today. Alexander was honored at the concert when the philharmonic played “Ashes and Equinox” composed by Alexander. The song is based on a poem written by Brett Rutherford, an Edinboro University student in the late 1960s. The poem is based on the great fire of 1988 that burned more than one-third of Yellowstone National Park, scattering ashes across the country, as far as even New York City. Rutherford’s friend Barbara Holland died that same day and he integrated this into the poem as well. “Ashes and Equinox” is a unique composition of music with xylophone throughout the entire track, making the tempo unusual for an orchestra, but very entertaining and beautiful.

The concert began with Le Tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel. It consisted of Prelude, Forlande, Menuet and Rigaudon. Ravel, was from Paris, France. Le Tombeau de Couperin translates to the Tomb of Couperin, referring to the Parisian composer Francois Couperin. “The homage is directed less in fact to Couperin himself than to French music of the eighteenth century,” said Ravel. Dr. Sarah Schouten, instructor of high brass, applied horn and trumpet, musicianship and brass method at Edinboro University, performed a horn solo accompanied by the philharmonic to Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major Op. 11, by Richard Georg Strauss. Strauss was a German composer. He actually composed this song when he was just 18 and later finished it at age 78. His influence was Mozart’s horn concertos. Schouten gave a talk about her horn and how it is “not really called a French horn, just a horn.”

The concerto consisted of Allegro, Andante and Rondo. Allegro lasted about 15 minutes. The concert concluded with Overture to Egmont, Op. 84 by Ludwig Von Beethoven. Beethoven composed Overture to Egmont as music to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play “Egmont,” put on at the Vienna Burgtheater. Beethoven admired and respected Goethe and based many of his songs on Goethe’s writings. The story of Egmont takes place in the 16th century, when Count Egmont, a Dutch Patriot, was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Duke of Alva, a Spanish dictator trying to overthrow the Netherlands. Egmont’s martyrdom spurred motivation for the Dutch people to overthrow the Spanish invaders. This dramatic story is made even more inspirational because of the intensity and aesthetic brilliance of Beethoven. 

Anna Ashcraft is the arts editor at The Spectator.

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