image - charles calvert
Charles Calvert performs a cello concerto. 

Those longing to travel to Spain can get a taste of the Mediterranean at the Coastside Community Orchestra Winter Concert, called, “Impressions of Spain.” 

The program promises both whimsical and dramatic pieces. “Caprice Brillant,” by Mikhail Glinka, Cello Concerto in D Minor by Edouard Lalo, and “Carmen Suites,” by George Bizet are in the rotation.

“Glinka is one of the most important and influential of the Russian composers,” wrote Coastside Community Orchestra Julie Hosfeldt in an email to the Half Moon Bay Review. “His works include piano solos, chamber music, operatic overtures and orchestral works, all in a style that has come to be known as distinctively Russian.  

“This piece is a whimsical and energetic orchestration of the jota,” she continued, “a folkloric dance typically from the Spanish region of Aragon, influenced by Glinka’s time in Spain.”

Opera aficionados will recognize music from “Carmen,” a blockbuster that tops the list of most-performed operas in North America. 

“‘Carmen’ is one of the greatest operas written,” said Hosfeldt. “It’s a great audience piece because everyone knows the music that comes out of ‘Carmen.’

“Bizet was a brilliant and prolific musical prodigy, already having composed two symphonies and numerous other works by the age of 19,” she continued. “Unfortunately, he did not live a long life and, in fact, died before witnessing ‘Carmen’s’ success.” 

Cello Concerto in D Minor by Edouard Lalo rounds out the list of marquee music. While “Carmen’s” composer Bizet was a child prodigy, Lalo did not achieve musical success until the dawn of his 50s. 

“It was around that time that the cello concerto was premiered and was well-received by Paris audiences,” wrote Hosfeldt.

 “For the most famous of cellists, Pablo Casals, it was the first piece he performed in public at the age of 22.” 

Cello Concerto will be performed by Charles Calvert, who has been Coastside Community Orchestra’s principal cellist since 1998. 

Calvert began to study this piece last year.

“He describes this piece that he has come to love as rhythmically complex with emotional impact and drama,” wrote Hosfeldt. “These are all aspects that leverage the cello’s unique range and capability.” 

While Calvert is a professional cellist, the Coastside Community Orchestra is currently seeking members of all musical abilities. 

“It’s an orchestra where people in the community come together to spread classical music throughout the community,” said Hosfeldt. “Most of us play for enjoyment but have other lines of work. We all aspire be better and better, but it’s still our hobby, for the most part.”

Coastside Community Orchestra Winter Concert: Impressions of Spain is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Coastside Lutheran Church, 900 Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay. Admission is $10 or $7 for seniors. Students and children are free. For more information, visit coastsidecommunityorchestra.com.

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