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The magic flute

Christinebailey The 1961 flute concerto by American composer Lowell Liebermann is on this weekend's Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concert. The soloist is Christine Bailey Davis, the orchestra's principal flutist, pictured at left.

This is a lovely piece and it has never before been performed by the BPO, at least not on the Classics Series. (I have scoured the orchestra's handy archives.)

When a piece is new to you it is nice to hear it a few times before heading to the concert. Here is the first movement. The opening theme especially reminds me Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the great film composer who also wrote the captivating violin concerto we have heard at Kleinhans Music Hall several times.

Here is the Adagio. One commenter writes: "It's so peaceful. I feel like I'm lying on a grassy field one sunny spring afternoon, with the wind blowing gently by." That is one way of saying it.

And the last movement. This thing flies! It sounds like very demanding music. I see that one flutist writes, "This is my goal concerto." Lots of luck!

This should be a good concert this weekend. There are a lot of fireworks -- not only this concerto, but Tchaikovsky's ever-popular Fifth Symphony. I heard the BPO playing it at Artpark, I think it was in summer 2009, and I remember marveling how that symphony can still be a thrill, no matter how many times you hear it.

According to the BPO Archives, which I cannot stay away from, Tchaikovsky's Fifth has been performed 16 times by the BPO. They do not list the Artpark performance, I am guessing because it was not, strictly speaking, the Classics series.

So, a tried-and-true treat, and a BPO premiere. I think it is going to be fun.

The concert takes place Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. For info, call 885-5000.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman



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