The Capital

The Capital
By David Lindauer
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“Harpist shines in ASO Concert”

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra presented another in its Lexus Classic Series of concert performances Friday and Saturday with generally excellent results. Music Director José-Luis Novo put the ASO through its paces in works by Mozart and Edward Elgar as well as a rearely performed work by French composer André Caplet. The harp soloist in the Caplet “Conte Fantastique” was Elizabeth Hainen.

Caplet’s “Conte Fantastique” (based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “Mask of the Red Death”) is not frequently performed in its orchestral version, so we were doubly fortunate to have experienced it and, moreover, to have heard it in such an outstanding performance.

The first thing that caught my attention was the precision of the strings. Then there was Hainen, who masterly modulated the sound of her harp to be alternatively seductive, sinister and, finally, horrifying. The range of emotions that she was able to produce was truly amazing and caught all of the nuances of Caplet’s tale beautifully, as the narrative gradually descends from boisterousness to uncertainty to horror and finally to its gruesome conclusion.

The missteps in the Mozart aside, we may at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 concert season, look back at this concert and deem it as the highlight of the year. The Caplet piece, in particular, was one of those instances that make me realize just how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy great, yet unusual, music in such a delightful venue.

David Lindauer, The Capital, Annapolis, MD

© Capital Gazette Communications LLC, 2012