What better way for an orchestra to celebrate its birthday than with the gift of music?
To commemorate its 35th anniversary, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra has released its first compact disc, "The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra with Gisele Ben-Dor."
The collection includes concert performances of works by Bach, Amy Beach, Berlioz, Mahler, David Ott, Saint-Saens, Stravinsky, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Bernstein.
Highlights include a dignified Minuet and Badinerie from J. S. Bach's Second Suite, featuring principal flutist Kristin Winter-Jones; the sparkling conclusion of the Amy Beach Piano Concerto with Boston pianist Virginia Eskin at the keyboard and the sassy "Times Square" from Bernstein's "On the Town."
Recording engineer Fred Geil, an ASO double-bassist, has coaxed a plush orchestral sound that can be but a dream in the brittle acoustical confines of Maryland Hall. His microphone had a better seat than I ever did!
You might quibble with a selection or two (where was the marvelous Schumann "Spring" Symphony from October 1993?), and the incessant audience noises might drive one a bit crazy but, on the whole, this is a marvelous souvenir for anyone who cares about the cultural health of our community.
To purchase the disc, send a check to the Annapolis Symphony, Maryland Hall, 801 Chase St., Annapolis 21401.
The cost is $12 per disc with $2 for handling charges. Buy five CDs and get a sixth one free.