Flute and piano concert feature Vivaldi, Bach and more
summit daily news
When Leonard Rhodes conceived the idea of a concert series to fill in the gaps in spring and fall (as well as on the Dillon side of the county), he couldn’t wait to ask flautist Paul Nagem.
Nagem has been the principal flute in the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic since 1994, and Rhodes has been a fan of his artistry for about 15 years. However, Sunday is the first time the two will perform together.
“(Len) is very musical, and I felt an instant communication with him that is not so common to find,” Nagem said.
Nagem chose the program, which includes Antonio Vivaldi’s sonatas Nos. 1 and 3 from “Il Pastor Fido” (“The Faithful Shepherd”), Francis Poulenc’s “Sonata for Flute and Piano,” Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach’s “Sonata in A Minor” and Albert Franz Doppler’s “Fantasie Pastorale Hongroise.”
As he picked the repertoire, he tried to appeal to a wide audience, with music from a variety of eras and styles. For example, Vivaldi’s melodic piece was considered innovative in the early 18th century; Poulenc wrote his in 1956 with abrupt mood shifts and incisive rhythms; and Doppler’s is a challenging and rich melodic piece.
As a solo flute piece, “Scrivo in Vento” by Elliot Carter happens to be Nagem’s favorite work to prepare. Based on a poem, “it seems to capture what it is like to try to practice an art form,” Nagem said, adding that it’s the most contemporary piece of the program.
Nagem studied flute in San Diego, where he grew up, then became the principal flute of the San Diego Symphony. His flute is a Straubinger, which is finely crafted in Indianapolis, Ind.
“I think any musician is drawn to the sound of the instrument he chooses, and I was very lucky, growing up in San Diego, to hear two wonderful principal flutes of the orchestra there, who each had an exquisite sound,” he said. “Even today when I play, I find myself trying to capture even a small bit of their sounds.”
Rhodes holds an impressive resume as well, with a career spanning more than 40 years as an organist, pianist, teacher, composer, arranger and music director. He founded and now directs the Pikes Peak Young Composers, an internationally renowned nonprofit that supports young composers.
Since the last five concerts of the series have been well attended, he’s already working on next season’s schedule.
“The standard of performance, according to our audience, is very high,” Rhodes said, “so obviously there’s a need for this sort of series on this side of the lake … I think everyone’s pleased … and (Sunday’s show) is a very attractive program.”
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