Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
The Arts

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

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.


We are currently reconfiguring our comments software. Please check back if you’d like to read or leave comments on this story. —The editors

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

Related stories