Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Northwest Symphony Orchestra

We enjoyed a fine concert last Saturday evening performed by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Anthony Spain. Part of the orchestra’s mission is to perform works written by northwest composers. The first piece was Concerto for Horn and Orchestra by Samuel Jones. Jones was Dean of the School of Music at Rice University and is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Seattle Symphony. I don’t generally enjoy contemporary classical music, finding it often too dissonant for these ears. Not so this piece, which was very listenable. The French horn soloist was Jeffrey Fair, assistant principal horn player for the Seattle Symphony.

The second piece was Prayer of St. Gregory by Alan Hovhaness. This was a relatively short piece by one of America’s most prolific composers. Its trumpet solo part was played by 12-year-old Natalie Dungey. With perfect aplomb, her playing was exact, her tone bright and clear. Afterward she took her place in the trumpet section of the orchestra.

This was the one hundredth anniversary of Hovhaness’ birth. Mr. Hovhaness lived in this area and I can remember seeing him in our local super drugstore, writing music while he waited for his wife, who was shopping. Probably his best-known composition is Symphony No. 2, Mysterious Mountain. This work was premiered by Leopold Stokowski and the Houston Symphony.

The orchestra finished with the superb playing of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, the New World. The orchestra performed wonderfully and the audience responded with a standing ovation at concert’s end. A wonderful evening for little old Burien.