The Simon Sinfonietta continued its season of musical adventure with a concert at Falmouth Academy on Saturday evning, February 18. At the heart of the program were two concertos —one written in 17th Century Venice in the exuberant style of the Baroque period, and one written 300 years later in Paris to evoke the memory of a magnificent Spanish garden. Under the baton of the Sinfonietta’s Director Stephen Simon, and in the hands of master guitarist Benjamin Verdery, both pieces gave testament to the enduring power of the world’s great music to stir and delight audiences. The concert opened with Mozart’s Prague Symphony and closed with the second of two symphonies written by the early Romantic composer Carl Maria von Weber.
Guitarist Benjamin Verdery has been described as "iconoclastic" and "inventive" by The New York Times, and as "one of the classical guitar world’s foremost personalities" by Classical Guitar Magazine. A colleague of Maestro Simon from the New York music world, Verdery has performed in such major New York venues as the 92nd Street Y, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as in concert halls and festivals around the world.
The first of the guitar concertos Verdery performed with the Sinfonietta was Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in D major. The concerto is the best known of the four that Vivaldi wrote for a plucked instrument, originally the lute, and it is typically performed today in transcription for the guitar. Vivaldi (1678-1774) was one of the most important and prolific composers of the Baroque period. Three centuries after Vivaldi composed this superb concerto, the Twentieth-Century Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) composed his Concierto de Aranjuez, which quickly claimed a comparable place among the finest pieces of the entire classical guitar repertoire. Almost completely blind from the age of three, Rodrigo wrote his compositions in Braille.
These two guitar masterpieces were preceded by Mozart’s Prague Symphony, which the great Classical period composer (1756-1791) wrote to express his gratitude to the people of Prague for their steadfast appreciation for his work. The concert concluded with Carl Maria von Weber’s Symphony No. 2. Born five years before the death of Mozart, von Weber (1786-1826) was one of the first important composers of the Romantic period, and one to whom the Simon Sinfonietta is giving richly deserved attention in this season’s programming.
With this performance, Maestro Stephen Simon continues to build the Simon Sinfonietta as a point of regional pride and growing nationwide recognition as he presents four musical gems from four great periods in the history of Western music.
To view Marilyn Rowland's interview with Benjamin Verdery, please click here:Benjamin Verdery Interviewed