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FSO presents 'Echoes of Spain' at the State

John Benson • Mar 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Want to go?

• WHAT: Firelands Symphony Orchestra’s “Echoes of Spain”

• WHEN: 8 p.m. March 19

• WHERE: Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky  

• COST: $26/adults, $24/seniors, $8/students

• INFO: 419-626-1950 or sanduskystate.com

Delivering something different — and what the theme promises -— is what the Firelands Symphony Orchestra has in store for its “Echoes of Spain” show March 19 at the Sandusky State Theatre.

“I absolutely love Spanish music,” said Firelands Symphony Orchestra Music Director-Conductor Carl Topilow. “It’s tremendous and it’s had such a great influence on music of all kinds, be it jazz and obviously Latino music. We’re so much into the German-Austrian repertoire that it’s like a breath of fresh air to get some of these composers represented. You’ll have rhythms you’ll never find in a Mahler or Beethoven symphony, things that are very specifically Spanish or Hispanic in sound and harmonies. It’s a very different experience. When you hear the music, you just know the rhythms, instrumentation, fire and expressivity of Spain.”

Included in the program are pieces from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” Joaquin Turina’s “Orgia from Danzas Fantasticas” and Edouard Lalo’s “Symphonie Espagnol.” So was mixing up the style of music a challenge for the Firelands Symphony Orchestra?

“No more than other pieces we do,” Topilow said. “Carmen is probably one of the top five operas in the world. The music is very recognizable. And Turina was another one of the composers who went to Paris to study under the great teachers there, learn their craft and then came back to Spain and decided to write in a more Spanish idiom. I like to present music which is exciting and dynamic for soloists. We’re also planning on using some stills of Spain or scenes from ‘Carmen’ during some of the music as well, to highlight and help the listeners identify with the music they’re hearing.”

Topilow said another expected highlight of the show will be Manuel deFalla’s “Excerpts from The Three Cornered Hat.” He feels there’s something unique about the way the composer uses rhythms and the sounds of Spain to create his exciting and emotionally charged portrayal of the European country.

If the evening isn’t interesting enough, Topilow, who is also a conductor and Orchestral Program Director at the Cleveland Institute of Music, has pegged a student at the Rock Hall City institution for this show.

 “Stefani Collins is a great soloist, an award-winning violinist,” Topilow said. “I know everyone will love her. She’s just an inspiration. I think she’s 21 years old and an incredible virtuoso.”

Finally, if perhaps “Echoes of Spain” seems more like an evening for a discriminating music listener, Topilow suggests otherwise.

“Our programs are aimed for anyone who loves great music, and it doesn’t matter if they’re new or have been listening for a while,” Topilow said. “I don’t personally see any great difference in my approach. Every concert we do is aimed for people to enjoy and to thrill to the sound of great symphonic music. There is nothing like it.”

The Firelands Symphony Orchestra presents “Echoes of Spain” at 8 p.m. March 19 at the Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Tickets are $26/adults, $24/seniors and $8/students. For more information, call 419-626-1950 or visit sanduskystate.com.

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