A Better Monday

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The first graders at Hodgen Elementary School had a better Monday than most of us. St. Louis Symphony musicians Shawn Weil, Tina Ward and Tod Bowermaster paid a visit to Hodgen and taught the schoolchildren about how musical instruments make sounds, and then gave them the violin, clarinet and horn version of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

Left to right: Shawn Weil, Tod Bowermaster and Tina Ward perform "Peter and the Wolf" at Hodgen Elementary School.
Left to right: Shawn Weil, Tod Bowermaster and Tina Ward perform “Peter and the Wolf” at Hodgen Elementary School.

Maybe Symphony musicians could come to various workplaces and make grownups’ Mondays better too.

3 Masterpieces, 3 Soundscapes

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Mahler Symphony Nos. 4 and 5 give orchestral musicians reasons for being. Symphony No. 4 is the other side of the Mahler moon. It doesn’t provide the signature gorgeous racket of Mahler’s great and grandiose Fifth. The Fourth is Mahler’s shortest symphony, and as  double bassist David DeRiso observed: “It’s all the swagger of Mahler with all his pastoral brilliance scaled down, so I don’t have to wear earplugs and can mostly hear myself!”

Gustav Mahler by Emil Orlik, 1902
Gustav Mahler by Emil Orlik, 1902

Also to be heard will be the “transcendent” (hornist Tod Bowermaster’s word) soprano Susanna Phillips, singing both the Mahler 4 and Claude Vivier’s Lonely Child.

Concertmaster David Halen has given this weekend of music (April 2-3) big kudos. For Halen, this program, which includes Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, “is a favorite, because these three pieces are some of the most beautiful scores ever written. All three are masterpieces from entirely different soundscapes. I can’t image a more incredible program than this.”