Arts Performing Arts

BRO Performs Senza Surprise

Blue Ridge Orchestra. Photo by Kathy Kmonicek

By Natasha Anderson

The Blue Ridge Orchestra (BRO) begins its 2022-23 season with two performances of Senza Surprise, held October 8 and 9 at 3 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. The concerts feature Franz Josef Haydn’s Symphony No. 94, known as the Surprise Symphony.

“We are excited to return to our two-concert format, to provide more opportunities for folks to enjoy a BRO performance,” says the orchestra’s music director Milton Crotts, who will conduct the concerts.

The program opens with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, composed as incidental music for a now obscure play about a 5th-century Roman general who first saves and then betrays his country. Beethoven’s flair for the dramatic is on display in this musical portrayal of Coriolan’s triumphs and defeats, haunted by his mother’s anguish at his fate. Next, the program takes a lighter turn as the orchestra accompanies BRO clarinetists Gary Spaulding and Justin Landry in performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Concert Piece No. 2 with Two Clarinets and Orchestra. A delightful exhibition of the instrument’s tone, range and versatility, Concert Piece No. 2 displays the composer’s sense of fun for both the soloists and their audience. The program ends with the Surprise Symphony, one of six that Haydn composed in Paris between 1785 and 1786.

“This season opener is designed to bring the orchestra and our audiences together to share music composed in different eras, in different genres and in different styles by three of the greatest classical composers,” says Crotts. “Audiences will appreciate the contrasts and mood changes not only among the pieces but within each piece.”

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