Minuteman. May 6, 1999
Sinfonietta, combine for a memorable performance
Art Ballou Correspondent
was the first time The Master Singers of Lexington and the Lexington
Sinfonietta had teamed up for a concert, but it is unlikely to
have been the last. There was hardly a vacant seat in Cary Memorial
Hall for the event Saturday night, and the standing ovation accorded
the musicians at the program's end was clear indication that the
patrons liked what they heard.
Grossman was the conductor for the Master Singers, and Hisao Watanabe,
its founder, for the Sinfonietta. The two-hour program highlighted
the works of master composers Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Franz
Thomas Stumpf supplemented the music program with a brief description
of some of Ludwig van Beethoven's habits. Beethoven, he said,
was notoriously unpredictable and had an inclination to improvise.
"He was a tough fellow and one never knew for sure what he was
going to do."
He said that after his performance of Choral Fantasy, Beethoven
never played in public again.
"I hope that doesn't happen to me," Stumpf joked. Stumpf, Follen
Church's director of music, is a long-time favorite of Lexington
audiences, as well as being an international performing artist.
The first portion of the Choral Fantasy was virtually a piano
solo by Stumpf and it led to curtain calls for both Stumpf and
Grossman before the Master Singers on the stage joined in.
program opened with the Sinfonietta performing Felix Mendelssohn's
"Fingal's Cave Overture" also known as the "Hebrides Overture"
under the leadership of Watanabe. (The audience learned from the
program that while some of his contemporaries found Fingal's Cave
"entirely purposeless and a great waste," Mendelssohn thought
it was fascinating.)
intermission, Grossman directed the Master Singers in a rendition
of the "Lord Nelson Mass" (Missa In Angustiis), a work that honored
one of Great Britain's famed naval heroes. Critics have noted
that several trumpet fanfares help lend a martial air to the performance.
There were numerous solo renditions by soprano Epp Sonin, who
is also founder and director of the Lexington Music School; mezzo-soprano
Diana Cole, Follen Church soloist and operator of her own school
in Arlington; tenor Mark Kagan, a featured performer with several
Boston ensembles; and internationally renowned baritone Robert
Honeysucker, who has performed in numerous operas -- "The Barber
of Seville," "Aida," "Il Travatore," "La Boheme."
were several curtain calls, topped with the standing O at the
Sarah Getty, president
of The Master Singers at the time, termed the joint concert with the Sinfonietta
a fitting climax to our 30th season. "We are proud of our contribution
to the cultural life of Lexington and surrounding communities,"