Rochester symphony finds 'Treasures' in chamber

Rochester symphony finds 'Treasures' in chamber
james Layton

Great art meets financial reality in Saturday's concert by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra .

That's when a smaller version of the full orchestra will present "Chamber Orchestra Treasures" at Rochester Assembly of God Church. This is a down-sized orchestra in a down-sized venue for a down-sized economy.

"The music we're playing is appropriately presented with a chamber-size orchestra," said Jere Lantz, the orchestra's conductor. "If you don't ever do a chamber concert, there's a lot of music you never do."

Besides that, he said, "It's cheaper to put on a chamber concert, to be frank. That helps our budget. We're doing better now than we were when we planned this concert, so I think we won't avail ourselves of a chamber concert next season."

For this concert, the orchestra will shrink from the usual 60-plus members down to about 30. And, in a revival of past practices, the concert will be presented in both the afternoon and the evening.


"We haven't done that for some years, and we thought we'd give it a try," Lantz said.

The most important point of any concert, though, is the music, and in this case, the guest artist, Layton James. "He's one of the greatest harpsichordists in the world," Lantz said.

James, the long-time harpsichordist for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, will perform Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 at Saturday's concert.

"He last performed with us in March 1985," Lantz said. The piece on that occasion was the same Brandenburg concerto.

James will also play with the orchestra for Haydn's Symphony No. 98. "In the last movement, there is a moment for a solo harpsichord," Lantz said. "For that reason, it's called the 'Harpsichord Symphony.' I didn't know that. Harpsichordists know about it, and now I know about it. And our audiences will know about it."

The concert also includes Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Trumpets, and Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor — which, said Lantz, "was not written by Albinoni."

In the mid-20th century, Remo Giazotto, an Italian scholar and composer, claimed to have found a fragment of an unfinished Albinoni piece, and decided to complete it. "But no one else ever saw the fragment," Lantz said.

The original manuscript was supposedly lost during the bombing of Dresden in World War II. "Near the end of his life, Giazotto changed his story and said there was no fragment, he had written it," Lantz said.


No matter its origins, Lantz said, "It's a gorgeous piece of music."


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