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Symphony electrifies with spring sounds

Nicolas Vigil of Milonga.
Nicolas Vigil of Milonga.

Program connects ‘strange,’ familiar

As of this week, spring has officially sprung, and the Spokane Symphony is celebrating with its third Symphony With a Splash concert program.

Conductor Eckart Preu deliberately put together a short program that would be a little bit out there, and a couple of the quirkier compositions are less than 10 years old.

“There are a few really strange pieces, and I think that’s what this series is about – exploring strange, funky stuff that’s inoffensive but fun to listen to,” Preu said.

Among those pieces is Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason’s “Bow to String,” which will feature an electric cello solo by John Marshall, and Mexican composer Enrico Chapela’s “Li Po,” a musical recreation of the work of the titular Chinese poet. And as a sort of palate cleanser, the night ends with Mozart’s Haffner Symphony.

“Each piece reflects on the other, and when you play the Mozart after the Chapela, it has even more beauty, more purity,” Preu said. “Or maybe not. Maybe it has some funkiness in it that, in a normal context, most people would not see.”

As with the previous Splash concerts, preshow entertainment includes food and drink, happy hour specials and live music, this time from local Latin band Milonga. When the symphony takes the stage later in the evening, 30 attendees will have the opportunity to sit with the orchestra.

But it’s really about the music, and Preu hopes listeners will be familiarized with composers who have the potential to change the classical landscape. “It will introduce the audience to the future of the music,” Preu said. “It’s the cutting edge. They might be the next Mozart.”

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