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Painting a picture through music

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By The Staff

The musicians of the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra came to the hall last Friday night armed with instruments, paint brushes and oil palettes, because it was a night to celebrate the colorful landscapes of the American composers MacDowell and Grofe.But before the entire orchestra took the stage, the string ensemble presented a light work by Peter Warlock, “Capriol Suite,” from 1926. This essentially forgotten and rarely performed work was a good warm-up for the string section. The difficulties that violins and violas had with the pizzicatos were the fault of Warlock, not the players. For Warlock, the six dances of “Capriol” were short studies in arranging 16th century dance tunes. I think they're interesting, but not terribly inventive.Now the oils and brushes came out for Edward MacDowell’s “Suite No. 2,” known as the “Indian” from 1896. Right away, I have to admit I was disappointed that the program did not list the titles of the five movements. I have a feeling this oversight would have troubled MacDowell, since the point of his composition was to evoke images. The LASO string section had a lovely, dark-hued sound in the second movement, “Love Song.” In the third movement, “In War-Time,” the violas had energy and clarity in their forceful staccato gestures.