The Wilmington Community Orchestra Opens Season w/ Mozart and Stravinsky

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by Delaware Arts Info blogger Margaret Darby

The Wilmington Community Orchestra has grown so much that they could hardly fit anyone else on the stage at the Music School of Delaware, but that growth is due to the patience, enthusiasm and energy of Dr. Timothy Schwarz, who has been conducting the orchestra since 2007.

The first program of their 2013-2014 season began with Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, K417 played by Music School of Delaware faculty member Dr. Anna Skrupky. Dr. Skrupky, whose inspiration to study music started in her public school music classes, played entirely from memory. She is young and quite petite, but her sound on the horn is robust and lively. The orchestra was able to lower their dynamic level easily and smoothly for the horn solos and the ripieno parts where the orchestral horns joined in were also quiet and controlled – but when full orchestra was called for, they also had a strong and well-intoned response.

After the spritely Mozart came the tough nugget of the concert version of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, a ballet which is based on a traditional Lenten character of Petrouchka, the puppet who is made of straw, but comes to life. Petrouchka falls in love with a beautiful ballerina puppet and contends with the Moor puppet for her affection. An evil charlatan spices up the mix and this gives Stravinsky license to compose all sorts of musical scenarios like wild spring fairs, contrasting rhythms and harmonies and dueling clarinets, trumpets, contrasting chords and other musical innovations which the orchestra played with gusto – quite a feat for an amateur orchestra.

Having guests Mark Livshits, a doctoral candidate from Temple University on the piano and Elizabeth Morgan-Ellis, a Temple graduate, on the harp provided great musical anchoring for the performance which brought the Wilmington Community Orchestra to a new level of achievement.