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Windham Orchestra's ‘Russia’ concert will showcase legendary composers

BRATTLEBORO—We may think of Russia as the cold, frozen wasteland of Dr. Zhivago, but the Windham Orchestra’s upcoming Russia is “exotic, warm, and fantastical,” according to a news release.

The concert, which spotlights richly textured works of two renowned Russian composers, is set for Sunday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. at the Latchis Theatre on Main Street.

Acknowledging that almost daily news headlines have focused our attention on Russia in recent months, Windham Orchestra Musical Director Hugh Keelan said in a news release that choosing Russia as the theme for this concert comes not from the country’s current politics, but from its legendary composers’ ability to transport listeners to faraway lands and undiscovered emotions.

The program begins with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” inspired by the storyteller from One Thousand and One Nights, the work that also includes Ali Baba and Aladdin. The music recounts how the beautiful Scheherazade is forced by a cruel Sultan to save her own life by telling wondrous tales each night.

The work, says Keelan, demonstrates Korsakov’s yearning for “bright colors and warmth, beyond Russia’s snowy landscape.” A solo violin — played by Michelle Liechti — is the ‘voice’ of the imperiled teller of tales, and adds to the richness of the piece.

Also on the program is Prokofiev’s wondrous Romeo and Juliet, its themes portraying the tragedy of Shakespeare’s star-crossed, doomed lovers.

“This is not merely teenage drama, but a mighty suffering” Keelan says, and although the work was composed to accompany a ballet, it is a powerful work sans the dance and another example of the romance and richness of the Russian composer’s genius.

The concert will conclude with two brief pieces by Bach, a tribute to a longtime Windham Orchestra violinist, the late Sarah Kemble, who Keelan describes as “extraordinarily good-humored and a highly valued member of this orchestra.”

The cost of admission is a donation of any amount. For more information, visit the Brattleboro Music Center website at bmcvt.org.

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Tamara Stenn
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Tamara Stenn (Brattleboro, Vermont, US) says...

Thanks for writing this Elayne. I was thinking the same thing myself. The silence we received from the hospital is quite deafening. Unfortunately we\'ve had to continue working with the hospital as other (minor) heath issues come up.

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Judith Skillman
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Judith Skillman (Newcastle, US) says...

Excellent and informative writing about the media and about the state of our nation. We must support the press speak truth to power, now more than ever before.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

We are also obliged to criticize the press when they merely echo the lies of the powerful. In this case, much of the press has taken a side, not just against the policies of the President, but against the election itself on behalf of the parties of war and Wall St. Just as the US has in the past agitated in other countries for coups against democratic outcomes they don’t like, much of the press, including this editorial, is now agitating for a coup here at home.

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Peter Ford
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Peter Ford (Dallas) says...

Nailed it - Thank you.

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TB Smith
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TB Smith (Ba, Oklahoma, US) says...

The divisiveness brought on by this shamefully poor excuse for a president has been once again, borne out by this article, and the responses to it .. his most devoted followers are the most gullible and easily swayed sheeple since the \"Kool-Aid party in Jonestown\" ... those who stand up the most fervently to this dictator \"wanabe\", will , inthe end, see him and the fellow purveyors of his garbage rhetoric like FOX News, Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc., crumble and be dumped like stale crackers (pardon the pun) .. we must impeach this tyrant before too much damage is done, either from within or outside our borders.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

So it’s OK that access to outlets that simply recognize Trump as President is indeed being shut down? But isn’t that exactly what this editorial is against? Should outlets that cheered on Obama’s wars and love of Wall St have likewise been shut down? Only John Birch Society–inspired screeds against Trump indicate the “legitimate” press?

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

TB Smith’s comment in apparent support of the us-vs-them tone of this editorial illustrates why so many people distrust so much of the press (although, again, it appears to be only pro-Trump and anti-imperialist outlets that are actually being shut down): They are promulgating hysterical claims about fascism, Russians, and “crackers” not in the interest of the people, but wholly on behalf of the neoliberal/neoconservative program of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama to deny Trump the Presidency and even remove him from office – not democratically, but by coup if necessary. That makes the press rather anti-democratic and, indeed, against the people.

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Amelia Stone
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Amelia Stone (E Dummerston, Vermont, US) says...

Kudos to the Boston Globe for encouraging newspapers across the country to remind us all of the value of a free press, and to the Commons for hearing that call. The NYTimes article, A Free Press Needs You, concludes with the following: \"If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.\" Today I plan to subscribe.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #445 (Wednesday, February 7, 2018). This story appeared on page B3.

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