Past, present meld in ‘Fourth’

  • Tue Mar 20th, 2012 10:04pm

By Dale Burrows For the Weekly Herald

It is exciting to anticipate: A weighty symphony offset by sophisticated pop and an elegant violin concerto, with a focus on composition and performance from the standpoint of self-expression’s many wonders.

Of course, Cascade Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concert of three pieces under the umbrella of “Brahms’ Fourth” will center on the third of “The Three Bs” (Bach, Beethoven and Brahms). Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 is a standout example of the creative process catching the past up to the present.

Beethoven and Mozart had pioneered emotion into classical and baroque, the Romantic period was in full swing and Brahms’ “Requiem” had established his place among the Romantics when he finished Symphony No. 4.

The marvel of the symphony is that it advanced the so-called “German Structures” further into Romantic form. Where the innovations in harmony, melody and particularly rhythm came from is anybody’s guess. That their origins are a gift to humankind is fact.

Leonard Bernstein’s use of the augmented fourth to create a dissonant interval in the also-featured overture to “West Side Story” tightens the wiring between music and story action. The effect of the augmented fourths in “The Rumble” more than enhances the effect of rival street gangs at war. It shocks, confuses and hurts the ears. The music actually fights with itself. That, folks, is a feat of imagination.

Self-expression in the form of a performer’s technique will spotlight on Emma McGrath’s violin doing the dance with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. Here, the money is on self-control: McGrath translating the uniqueness of a composition into honest interpretation.

At the helm of this foray into the creative process will be Maestro Michael Miropolsky. Miropolsky’s conducting style always surprises. No doubt, “Brahms’ Fourth” will be a night to remember.

‘Brahms’ Fourth’

WHAT: Cascade Symphony Orchestra performs Bernstein’s Overture to “West Side Story,” Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 26

WHERE: Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N, Edmonds

TICKETS: $25, $20 seniors, $15 students, $10 age 12 and younger, available at 425-275-9595 or