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APSU's Dimension Series Explores Composer Enescu and his Chamber Symphony

         CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In 1958, the conductor Constantin Silvestri experienced a slight dilemma. He was set to premiere composer George Enescu’s last work, Chamber Symphony for 12 Players, but he worried the Romanian audience wouldn’t appreciate the complexities or the brilliance of the work.

         CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In 1958, the conductor Constantin Silvestri experienced a slight dilemma. He was set to premiere composer George Enescu’s last work, Chamber Symphony for 12 Players, but he worried the Romanian audience wouldn’t appreciate the complexities or the brilliance of the work.

         “He was convinced the audience would not be able to grasp it on first hearing it, so he had it played twice,” Dr. Gregory Wolynec, associate professor of music at Austin Peay State University, said. “This last work of his, people who specialize in the music of this composer refer to it as the hardest to understand.”

          For that reason, the work is underperformed and in danger of slipping into obscurity. But at 7:30 p.m. on March 14, APSU’s Grammy-nominated Gateway Chamber Ensemble will offer a rare, free concert retrospective of Enescu’s works, and when it comes to the notorious Chamber Symphony, Wolynec said they’ll follow Silvestri’s lead by performing it twice.

        “Our task is to find the beauty and make this work approachable to the new listener,” Wolynec, the ensemble’s conductor, said. “This is an opportunity to hear a piece twice that you may never hear again live.”

         The concert is part of the Dimensions New Music Series, which presents contemporary music written since 1950 in three free concerts each year. The series is sponsored by the APSU Department of Music and the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts.

           Monday’s performance will open with Enescu’s Chamber Symphony by the Gateway Chamber Ensemble. The concert will then revert back to a couple of the composer’s earlier and more approachable works.

            “Lisa Vanarsdel (APSU professor of music) is going to play an early work when Enescu was living and working in Paris called ‘Cantabile Et Presto,’” Wolynec said. “Then Jeffrey Wood (APSU professor of music) is going to play a middle period work of his that is for solo piano.”

            The ensemble will then return to the stage. Wolynec will conduct a few excerpts from the Chamber Symphony to draw connections between that piece and the earlier works. The concert will close with the ensemble again performing the 15-minute Chamber Symphony in its entirety.

            “This is the work of a genius that is probably overlooked,” Wolynec said. “It is beautiful, it is nuanced and it is largely ignored.”

            For more information on the concert or the Dimensions New Concert Series, contact the APSU Department of Music at 931-221-7818