Story last updated at 10/14/2009 - 1:38 pm
By Libby Sterling
CCW Staff Writer
JUNEAU - Nineteenth-Century German violinist and composer Louis Spohr composed many of his pieces with particular musicians in mind. His "Sonata in C Minor for Violin and Harp" was written as an excuse to spend time with a lady harpist of whom he was quite fond, and the two eventually married.
This weekend, the Juneau Symphony will perform Spohr's "Concertante No. 2 for Two Violins and Orchestra" with husband-and-wife violinists Paul and Linda Rosenthal.
"I think he wrote it for us," Paul said of Spohr's composition.
The Rosenthals are in their 41st year of marriage and they have been playing music together just as long. Their rapport comes in handy when it comes to tackling a challenging piece like the "Concertante."
"It's like we're doing a trapeze act together," Paul said. "It's stunningly beautiful."
"It's a great challenge," Linda said. "It's one that you embrace."
Paul described the "Concertante" as "the most fun" of any piece that the pair has performed together. The players' roles change throughout the composition from being in sync together to chasing and imitating the other. In some spots, double stops are written for both violins, creating the audible illusion of a string quartet.
"It's a very virtuosic piece with a lot of pyrotechnics and things," Linda said. "It's one beautiful melody after another."
Juneau Symphony conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett has worked with both Paul and Linda in the past, but this is the first time they will perform as a duet under Pickett's baton.
"Paul and Linda are two of Juneau's greatest musical treasures," Pickett said.
Pickett considers it a blessing to have the opportunity to work with the Rosenthals on the "Concertante." Their knowledge of each others' playing and musicianship will tremendously enhance the performance, Pickett said.
"Usually a double concerto was written with specific people in mind," Pickett said. "Quite frequently when you put together a double concerto, you kind of throw together a couple people who might not ordinarily play together and the result is sometimes wonderful but sometimes not as tight and clean as it could be."
"I have a special affection for playing with the Juneau symphony because I know everybody in the orchestra," Linda said. "There's something very special about playing with a group of friends."
In addition to the "Concertante" the Juneau Symphony will perform "Symphony No. 2" by Sibelius and Haydn's "Lo Speziale Overture." William Todd Hunt will be conducting the Haydn Overture.
The performance will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 18 at the Thunder Mountain High School Auditorium.
Tickets are available at Hearthside Books, the Juneau Arts and Culture Center and online at http://www.juneausymphony.org.
General admission is $20 and students and seniors are $15. Tickets will be available at the door for an additional $2. Pay-as-you-can tickets will be available at the door for the Sunday, Oct. 18 performance.
Arrive one hour early to each performance for a Concert Conversation with conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett.
Information about the Symphony's entire 2009-2010 season is available online at http://www.juneausymphony.org.