A double take at the Symphony

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November 15th, 2011

Omaha, NE – The Omaha Symphony will show some composers are worth a second look this weekend.

This Saturday’s Omaha Symphony chamber concert is appropriately titled Double Take.The audience will get to hear two very different sides of each of the three composers on the program. For example, the loud Overture, Scherzo and Finale by Robert Schumann is contrasted with Dreaming, a serene and charming work from Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood. Paired with Carl Maria von Weber’s dramatic Symphony No. 1 is his Andante and Hungarian Rondo.

Thomas Wilkins, Omaha Symphony Music Director. (Photo courtesy Omaha Symphony)

Omaha Symphony Music Director Thomas Wilkins says what makes that work so special is its soloist, the Symphony’s own Principal Bassoonist James Compton.

“James is a Renaissance man,” Wilkins said. “He has been a long-time principle bassoonist for the Omaha Symphony.”

Wilkins noted Compton is also a skilled craftsman, who’s worked for Habitat for Humanity. “He really is a terrific human being, so it’s really great to be able to make music with him on stage.”

Besides Schumann and Weber, the concert includes two playful pieces by American composer, Michael Daugherty. Daugherty has roots in the Midwest, and likewise his music is the sound equivalent of a Norman Rockwell painting.

“Michael takes facets of everyday life, common life, and incorporates them into his compositions,” Wilkins said. “American icons, like Elvis Presley, and there’s even a piece for two Barbie dolls and orchestra, which is pretty cool.”

Wilkins said there’s also a piece based on Sunset Strip and another on the life of Rosa Parks. “He is just all over the place in regards with what it means to be an American,” he said. “And that finds its way into his music.”

And on that note, Daugherty’s Dead Elvis is also on the program, again featuring bassoonist James Compton. The Omaha Symphony’s chamber concert Double Take is at 7 pm Nov. 19 at the Strauss Performing Arts Center at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

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