The Spokane Symphony will observe two anniversaries with its performance at The Met Sunday: the 25th season of its concertmaster (a year late) and the tercentenary of the death of the English composer Henry Purcell.
The concert, “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” is a tribute to British music, with selections from “The Fairy Queen” by Purcell along with Gustav Holst’s “St. Paul” Suite, William Walton’s “Facade” Suite and Benjamin Britten’s “Simple Symphony.”
Farris will be the violin soloist in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending.”
Fabio Mechetti, the symphony’s music director, will conduct. The program will be repeated Monday night.
Farris was born in Walla Walla, won the Spokane Music Festival’s Young Artist Award in 1959 and studied violin at the University of Washington with Emmanuel Zetlin and at Juilliard with the legendary Ivan Galamian.
After playing in the New York City Ballet orchestra and a stint in the U.S. Army Orchestra in Washington, D.C., Farris joined the Spokane Symphony in 1969.
Farris is also the first violinist of the Spokane String Quartet, a professor of music and conductor of the University Orchestra at Eastern Washington University and the artistic director of the Spokane Chamber Music Association.
The work Farris will perform, Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending,” was inspired by the once-famous poem of that name by the Victorian poet George Meredith. Two other works on Sunday’s program also have literary connections: Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” is an almost-opera based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; Walton’s “Facade” Suite is taken from the music Walton wrote to accompany the recitation of poems by Edith Sitwell.
The other two works the symphony will perform Sunday are nonliterary, but both have slightly misleading titles. Holst’s “St. Paul” Suite is not named after the famous London landmark cathedral but for the St. Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith, where the composer taught. Britten’s “Simple Symphony” is neither simple nor a symphony.
It’s a suite of dances orchestrated by Britten from piano pieces he had written between the ages of 9 and 12.
Sunday’s concert will feature spoken program notes by the conductor.
Ticket holders should note that the second performance of this pair of concerts will occur on Monday evening, not Tuesday, as is usually the case with the Symphony at The Met series.
MEMO: This sidebar ran with story: Spokane Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Mechetti, with violin soloist Kelly Farris, at 3 p.m. Sunday and at 7:30 p.m. Monday at The Met. Tickets: $8-$18 at the symphony ticket office, 624-1200, and G&B.
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