Musical program blends contemporary, classical


Music in Common, a chamber music series, has quite an offering for its debut concert this weekend.

Cellist Daniel Malkin, founder and director of Music in Common, has assembled top local talent from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Peabody Institute, Kennedy Center and WBAL radio.

And while it might seem odd to find a news/talk radio personality in such company, talk show host Ron Smith, who will narrate the concert, loves classical music.

Mr. Smith will join Mr. Malkin, of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, violinist Wonju Kim of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Amy Lin, a pianist and faculty member at the Peabody Institute.

The four will perform classical works by Brahms and Tartini and contemporary pieces by Hindemith and Grant Beglarian Sunday afternoon at the 250-seat Wilde Lake Interfaith Center.

Mr. Malkin said that Music in Common's goal is "to have fun concerts and have an informal atmosphere where musicians speak to the audience.

"It's not really a children's concert. But any kid who could appreciate a classical music concert could appreciate this."

Mr. Smith, who describes himself as a latecomer to classical music, said he supports the group "trying to show the accessibility of serious music."

"I've done these things before. I enjoy doing narration for serious music," said Mr. Smith, who has worked in a similar capacity for the BSO and at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He also covered the BSO's trip to the former Soviet Union for WBAL.

Mr. Smith will introduce the classical pieces and narrate for the contemporary works.

The first is Hindemith's "A Frog He Went A-Courting" variations, in which each variation is one verse of a nursery rhyme that Mr. Smith will read.

The original version did not have a narrator, but Mr. Malkin found that the piece works better if the audience listens to a narrator instead of reading the text in a program.

The second contemporary work is Beglarian's "Of Fables, Foibles and Fancies," composed in 1971. This work was written with narration.

"It's a very big narrative part that may be done by an actor," said Mr. Malkin. "It's a series of four stories. Some are folk tales. The cello weaves in and out of the story."

The director has nothing but praise for his narrator.

"He's been just great to work with, superenthusiastic and talented and able," Mr. Malkin said.

Woven between the contemporary works are two classical pieces: Tartini's "Devil's Trill Sonata" and Brahms' Trio in C Minor, Op. 101.

Mr. Malkin said that Tartini claimed he had a dream in which the devil took his violin and played. When he woke, Tartini wrote down the music.

"It should be familiar to people who go to violin recitals," Mr. Malkin said.

The Brahms piece is the least played of the selections.

The s mix of music is part of the series' philosophy.

"We want to mix traditional with music that hasn't been heard," Mr. Malkin said. "We want to give an audience variety. You don't want to throw too much new stuff at them."

Music in Common's next concert will be Sept. 24 at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center. Performers will include a jazz pianist and a harpist.

Mr. Malkin, 31, a Berkeley, Calif., native, who lives in Mays Chapel, has been a member of the Kennedy Opera House Orchestra for two years. He studied at the New England Conservatory and at the Peabody Institute.

Although he loves playing music for opera and ballet, where the spectacle is often the focus for the audience, Mr. Malkin said the chamber music series gives him more artistic control and a chance to center attention on the music.

The Music in Common concert will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia. Tickets are $10 or $7 for students and seniors.

Information: 964-2531.

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