Marvin Repinski: Austin Symphony Orchestra supports our souls – Austin Daily Herald


On October 31, the Austin Symphony Orchestra brought music to the Austin area and was a brilliant recognition of the talented musicians who brought fascinating beauty to usher in a new season.

Those who have benefited from showcasing the vibrant productions of the art world, have an enthusiastic appreciation from Artistic Director / Conductor Stephen J. Ramsey, now in his 27th year.

that of Mr. Ramsey contacts with virtuoso performers were exemplified by distinguished and nationally recognized bassoonist Garrett McQueen. Speaking with McQueen in the wake of his exceptional playing was as emotional as his remarks that this instrument had been his flesh and blood for years. He also revealed his appreciation for Austin’s affection.

The musical compositions were delivered with a mixture of enthusiasm and quiet murmurs. The 20-minute “Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra” (G. Rossini, 1792-1868) improved audience appreciation, and the walls of the Knowlton Auditorium responded with their own vibrations.

After the intermission, one of my favorite composers brought in music that ranged from a silent source to the trickle of the waterfall, and several times the chirping of the birds was heard. Kiven Lukes and Millie Masse, co-presidents of the Orchestra, did they sneak into a bird cage?

Mistress of multiple creations, Antonia Dvorak composed music with a spontaneous and irrepressible melodic flow – a sense of instrumental coloring. Despite setbacks and setbacks throughout his life, Dvorak retained a simple pleasure wholeheartedly. At the height of his career, he was “celebrated from Moscow to Mississippi, but he never forgot during his lifetime (1841-1904) his peasant childhood in Bohemia or the Czech people who inspired his music”. (“Great composers”, pp. 261-262.)

A commentator on the life of this composer evokes his many passions. For example, watching the passing of trains with a mixed set of people. Add to that his fascination with birds. As director Ramsey said in his introduction to each piece, this musician would have been at home walking the banks of the Cedar River in Austin.

Those of us who study the life and creations of Dvorak, note that the third movement of the “String Quartet in F” is inspired by the song of the Scarlet Tanager. In his later years, due to his love for the environment, he excelled in breeding pigeons.

Dvorak has visited the United States on several occasions, having visited a few of our major cities. His association with church organists and his loyalties supported the people of the theater. His three years of living in a Bohemian Citizen Colony in Spillville, Iowa, caught my attention. Of course, I consulted a map. Spillville, near Decorah, Iowa, is in the northeast corner of the state and about 80 miles from Austin. It was a place that brought words and sounds to Dvorak’s works; farm grounds, pastures, woods and waters and of course, more of the habits of his homeland.

Reading Dvorak’s story and listening to one of his recordings on a CD that I own has moved me. This man was like a sponge. From the start, his father and mother were butchers for the community, while managing a small inn with their son. It provided a very pleasant environment.

This emotional environment ultimately prompted, it seems, a very emotional and sensitive young man. In all of this he consoled himself as a church organist performing the Psalms. The manner of his music was not always celebrated and it was influenced by the culture and styles of the American Indians with whom he befriended. In his early childhood he became proficient on a number of instruments including cello, piano, organ and imbibed Czech folk rhythms and melodic forms. Two sets of Slavic dances were mentioned and are considered by musicologists, as well as “Songs My Mother Taught Me”, which is part of “Gypsy Songs”.

The ability to expand one’s repertoire is evident in the manner of engaging a full orchestra. Several offerings included different interpretations, one with piano, one with violin and a third with cello. “I think this is the greatest of all cello concertos,” a view shared by cellist Robert Battery.

It is an uplifting learning experience to spend a few days researching the life and creation of a world famous composer. Music grants a great expansion of the total life of a person. This is another reason to recognize the scholarships offered to young students in our region. The Austin Symphony and several service clubs provide such support. Students and parents alike, you are welcome to take advantage.

If you are traveling abroad, you might want to visit St. Adalbert Church in Prague where Dvorak was organist (don’t forget his wife Anna!) Where his statue is located. Another statue is located in Stuyvesant Square in Manhattan.

Music can be seen as a reward. We can apply the phrase from Psalm 119: 105. “Your word is a lamp at my feet and a light on my path. “ “O sing to the Lord a new song. “(Psalm 98: 1).

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