BOONE—Major works by Wagner, Mozart and Mendelsohn will be performed by the Appalachian Philharmonia Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall. Admission is free The philharmonia is part of the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University.
Cornelia Laemmli Orth, music director, conductor and chief operating officer for the Symphony of the Mountains based in Kingsport, Tenn., is the guest conductor. The guest soloist is Karen L. Robertson, professor of horn in the Hayes School of Music.
The program spans the classical and Romantic periods.
The program opens with Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll,” written in 1870 for his wife and first performed by a small ensemble that lined the staircase in the Wagner home. “It’s a highly romantic piece written for Wagner’s second wife after birth of their son,” Orth said.
Robertson is featured soloist for Mozart’s “Concerto No. 3 for Horn in E-flat Major, K. 447.” The concerto consists of three movements that range from playful melodies to the finale that is familiar to audiences for its hunting calls woven into the demanding 6/8 meter horn line.
“Mozart wrote several concerti for horn and orchestra; however, there are only four complete concertos and a few fragments still in existence,” Robertson said. “Many of the concerti, including ‘Concerto No. 4,’ were written for Joseph Leutgeb, a close family friend and famous horn virtuoso of the time. This is my favorite Mozart concerto. The melodies are very lyrical and expressive. Through this work, Mozart explores both the high and low registers of the horn, and, while it is very demanding, the piece is very enjoyable for the player and listener alike.”
The final work on the program is Felix Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 3, op. 56 in A minor,” known as the Scottish Symphony.
The symphony was inspired by Mendelssohn’s walking tour of England and Scotland about which he wrote, “This evening in the deep twilight we went to the palace where Queen Mary (Stuart) lived and loved; there is a small room with a winding staircase leading up to it…The adjacent chapel has lost its roof; grass and ivy grow thickly within; and on the broken altar Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. Everything there is in ruins and ramshackle, open to the blue sky. I think I have today found the opening of my Scottish Symphony.”
However, it was 10 years before Mendelssohn finished the composition, which was premiered in Berlin in 1842.
“It is one of my favorite symphonies. Mendelssohn has a different way of presenting music that is explosive, has interesting rhythms and inverted melodies,” Orth said. “The piece is pretty hard to play. The musicians play for about 45 minutes.”
About Karen L. Robertson
A native of Tennessee, Karen L. Robertson received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a Master of Music degree from the College-Conservatory at the University of Cincinnati, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Robertson is professor of horn at Applachian’s Hayes School of Music, where she teaches applied horn, horn methods, and coaches brass and woodwind chamber music. Before coming to Appalachian, she served on the faculties of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and William Jewell College.
An active orchestral player, Robertson has performed with symphony orchestras throughout the nation. Since coming to Boone, she has performed with the North Carolina Symphony, the Greensboro Symphony, the Roanoke Symphony (Virginia), the Symphony of the Mountains (Tennessee), and the Western Piedmont Symphony.
She has premiered many works for horn, including a simultaneous internet broadcast/premiere of “Sea Dreams” for two horns and wind ensemble by David Maslanka.
About Cornelia Laemmli Orth
Since 2006, Cornelia Laemmli Orth has been music director and conductor of the Symphony of the Mountains, the largest regional symphony in Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia. She was associate conductor and later principal guest conductor for the Knoxville Symphony from 2002 until 2008. She also has been music director and conductor for the Oak Ridge Symphony and Chorus. She also has worked as guest assistant conductor at La Scala in Milan.
During 2010-11, she also served as interim music director of the Appalachian Philharmonia and the Appalachian State University opera program.
Born in Switzerland, she holds three master’s degrees: one in piano from the conservatory of Winterthur, one in choral conducting from the University and Conservatory of Zurich and one in orchestra conducting from Northwestern University. Before coming to the United States, Laemmli Orth taught music history, theory, choir, orchestra and voice. She also has conducted various choirs, youth and community orchestras, operas and musical productions.