ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 4 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 20, 2000


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      There is a free AAC Networking Meeting/Coffee House at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, and workshops every month at the The Northwest Transportation Network office in St Albans.


      The Vermont Youth Orchestra returns to the MVU stage Saturday, January 29, with a tribute to Aaron Copland entitled A New Birth of Freedom. The VYO concert is hosted by the All Arts Council of Franklin County and presented by media sponsors the St Albans Messenger and WWSR/WLFE radio.
      A New Birth of Freedom features music commemorating the battle for political liberty throughout the world. In keeping with its tribute to Aaron Copland, the VYO will perform Copland's Lincoln Portrait, a moving tribute to America's sixteenth president. Beethoven's Egmont Overture honors a Dutch hero's fight for freedom from Spanish conquerors. The Polovtsian Dances by Borodin, one of the most popular works in the orchestral repertoire, evokes the exotic world of an Asian tribe struggling for independence from Czarist Russia.
      "This concert season is really exciting for us at the VYO because we are doing a season long tribute to Aaron Copland." said Troy Peters, music director for the Vermont Youth Orchestra. "The year 2000 is the centennial of his birth, so in celebration of that we have programmed a major work of Copland's at each concert and are spending the whole year exploring his music and his life. The kids are getting to know the pieces and his life story. It's a great opportunity for them to get to know well one of America's greatest composers."
      One of Copland's most popular pieces is the Lincoln Portrait, a stirring narration of the words of Abraham Lincoln, including excerpts from the Gettysburg Address, with strong orchestral music behind them. Written in 1942, the Lincoln Portrait stresses the idea that out of struggle and conflict can come a "new birth of Freedom."
      "This program has music by other composers that reflect the theme of the 'Lincoln Portrait,'" Peters said of Beethoven's Egmont and Borodin's Polovtsian Dances which are also on the program.
      Lamoraal, Graaf van Egmont was a leader of the opposition in the Dutch struggle against the Spanish Inquisition of Dutch Calvinists in the Low Countries. Although the northern provinces eventually won independence from Spain, Egmont was executed for treason in 1568. Goethe dramatized the story in the play, Egmont.
      Beethoven's middle period is marked by the his excitement with "any music about heroism, freedom and struggle. He was a real fan of the heroic individual," Peters said. Works like the earlier Third Symphony (Eroica) are straight, bang-'em-up heroism, while Beethoven adds serenity in the later Egmont and the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth symphonies. "Egmont has bad guys, darkness and foreboding, battle music, and a happy ending," he said.
      Aleksandr Borodin began the Polovtsian Dances for his Prince Igor opera. A distinguished professor of chemistry at the Medico-Surgical Academy and the son of a Georgian prince, Borodin steadfastly used Russian folk music in his work, but after 18 years of effort he never finished the Prince Igor opera. Rimsky-Korsakov orchestrated the Polovtsian Dances suite from that opera at Borodin's request. Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Fokine danced the lead roles in the Dances in the opening season of the Ballet Russe.
      The VYO seats 92 top student musicians from Vermont and northern New York this year. Musicians from Franklin County include Amy Branagan, violin, of St. Albans, Anne Clark, violin, of East Fairfield, Heather Davis, horn, of Richford, Malikah Fulton, viola, of Georgia, Elisabeth Lauffer, violin, of Enosburg Falls, Morgan Pollitt, violin, of Fairfax, Nicole Rawding, flute, of St. Albans, and Rebecca Snyder, violin, of Georgia.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra Freedom concerts will be presented only at MVU on January 29 and at the Flynn Theater in Burlington on January 30. Tickets for the MVU concert cost $5 for adults; students and seniors are free. Tickets are available at Jukebox CDs and Tapes in St Albans, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg Falls, Swanton Rexall in Swanton, from most AAC members, from the VYO (658-4708), and at the door.


      Regular AAC CoffeeHouses with networking time and "show-and-tell" are held in borrowed space at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. This spring, we will gather in a different AAC member's home around the St Albans area starting February 6 at Corliss Blakely's. Watch this space for details.

CLICK HERE: ART SITE OF THE WEEK invites artists and arts organizations to join a vibrant community on the Internet. Passion4Art provides free tools to help artists create websites to display work online. The services include Websites, Email, Art Cards, Art Events, Art Links, Art Tips, Searchable Listings and Discussion Boards. Artists may sell their works online through our store. Artists and organizations can add links to the Passion4Art portal. The calendar lists nationwide art events. Artist members also post art tips.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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