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Baltimore Chamber Orchestra devotes season-opener to Haydn

Markand Thakar
(Dennis Drenner /)

The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra opened its season Sunday afternoon with a program devoted to Haydn, who is neck-and-neck with Ives for the title of Greatest Composer Most Frequently Ignored Around Here.

The program, presented at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium included Symphony Nos. 6 - 8 (titled "Morning," "Noon" and "Night"), and overstuffed narration about the composer's life that consumed nearly as much time as it took to play those three pieces.

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Given how similar the symphonies are in structure and flavor, I would not have minded an interpretive surprise or two from BCO music director Markand Thakar -- diverse tempos for the Menuet movements, perhaps. Still, his sensitive shaping of the scores made it easy to savor the ingenuity of Hadyn's creations.

With its mix of Baltimore Symphony members and sturdy freelancer musicians from the area, the BCO is capable of admirable work, which was the case on this occasion. Articulation was adroit, phrasing colorful from the ensemble throughout.

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These pieces include lots of solos, delivered with considerable flair by principal players in the orchestra. To single out just two of the highlights: cellist Seth Low spinning out elegant lines in the second movement of Symphony No. 8; bassist Laura Ruas getting the instrument to sing brightly in the third.

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