In a program titled “Classic Brass,” Brandon Ridenour, youngest member of the famed Canadian Brass Trumpet Dream Team, will perform Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the Dearborn Symphony at 8 p.m. Friday at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn.
A Julliard graduate, Ridenour tours with Canadian Brass, has toured Europe with the Juilliard Orchestra and played on two “PBS Live from Lincoln Center” broadcasts as part of Juilliard’s Centennial Celebration. In May 2006, Ridenour was a featured soloist with Marvin Hamlisch conducting the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center’s 35th Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C. He joined Hamlisch and the NSO again in December as a soloist for a series of sold out holiday concerts at the Kennedy Center. In 2008, Ridenour performed with his dad, Rich Ridenour, for the Dearborn Symphony’s annual pops concert.
The program begins with George Enescu’s colorful “Romanian Rhapsody in A major.” Full of recognizable tunes, it begins with a tavern song, “I Have a Coin and I Want a Drink!” The piece is a series of dances from typical urban “café music fare” to the popular rural ciocirlia, in which the musicians try to imitate the sounds of birds. Typical of dance rhapsodies, the music becomes increasingly frenetic – almost as if the instruments of the orchestra are a troupe of gypsy violinists competing with each other. The ever-pressing accelerando leads to an unforgettable ending.
For mountain climbers, the Himalayas; for classical trumpet players, the Haydn, Hummel, and L. Mozart trumpet concertos. Ridenour tackles the climb with virtuosic technique and clarion tone. Haydn composed his only trumpet concerto in 1796 at the behest of his friend, Anton Weidinger, the trumpeter in the Vienna Court Orchestra. The valveless trumpets of the time could play only notes derived from a fundamental pitch and its related harmonic series, so trumpet music tended to be melodically limited. Weidinger was fed up with the limitations of the natural trumpet, and experimented with hand-stopping, keys, and slides (apparently used in England until well into the 19th century).
The modern trumpet has been greatly refined, but the principle remains the same. Wonderfully orchestrated, the melodies highlight the features of the keyed instrument, concentrating unusual chromatic intervals in the low and middle registers. The piece is festive and radiant with fanfare-like themes that the soloist enriches with trills and other ornamentation.
The program ends with Dvorak’s “Eighth Symphony.” Written in less than a month in 1889, it is a radiant and robust work that draws its inspiration from the Bohemian folk music that Dvorak loved. Free of the dark despair of the preceding “Seventh,” which was composed in the shadow of the death of his beloved mother, in a period he described as “of doubt and obstinacy, silent sorrow and resignation,” the “Eighth” has been described as “sunny,” “songful,” “warm,” and “optimistic.” At one point, when Dvorak was working on the symphony, he wrote to a friend that: “Melodies simply pour out of me.”
To enrich the concert experience, the audience is invited to attend Jim Walters’ insightful and humorous preview of the evening’s music at 7 p.m., free with a concert ticket.
The Dearborn Symphony has partnered with local restaurants to offer a 20 percent diners’ discount for symphony ticket-holders on concert nights. Advance reservations are recommended at Andiamo Dearborn, Ciao’s, The Early American Room at the Dearborn Inn, Giulio & Sons at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, Kiernan’s & Silky’s, Parisian Bistro, and new this year, The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Dearborn.
The concert and afterglow are made possible by the Women’s Association for the Dearborn Orchestral Society.
Concert tickets range from $30 to $15 for adults and $10 for students. To purchase, call the symphony office at (313) 565-2424 or go to the symphony Web site www.dearbornsymphony.org. Contact the symphony office for group discounts. Tickets are also available at the Ford Center box office at (313) 943-2354.