Walla Walla Symphony greets spring with 'Flora and Fauna'

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As spring blooms across the fields and hills, it's only fitting that it be accompanied by music.

In keeping with the season, the Walla Walla Symphony will stage "Flora and Fauna" at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College campus.

The celebration of the annual renewal of life will begin with "Cantus Arcticus, op. 61, Concerto for Birds and Orchestra" by the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara.

Written in 1972, the composition is probably Rautavaara's best-known work, blending its music with recordings of bird song taken near the Arctic Circle and on the bogs of Liminka in northern Finland, according to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

Accompanying the performance will be visuals by Liz Gill Neilson, artist in residence for the Portland Chamber Orchestra. Along with the Portland Chamber Orchestra and the Walla Walla Symphony, Neilson has created multimedia projects for the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble of the College of William and Mary in collaboration with her partner, composer Duncan Neilson.

The second performance of the evening will be "Saint Saens--Carnival of the Animals" with pianists Alexander and Andrew Scott, text by Peter Schickele and narration by Jim Bock.

Created by French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saens in 1886, the orchestral work is a musical suite of 14 movements with a duration between 22 and 30 minutes. Apparently concerned that the piece was too frivolous and likely to harm his reputation, Saint-Saens, suppressed performances of it during his lifetime and only allowed one movement, Le cygne, to be published. However, due to a provision which allowed the suite to be published after his death, the composition has since become one of Saint-Sa?´ns' most popular works.

The final performance will be Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F major, also known as the "Pastoral Symphony." Completed in 1808, it is one of Beethoven's few works of program music and was labeled at its first performance with the title "Recollections of Country Life".

Sponsors for the "Flora and Fauna" symphony are the bicycling and tennis friends of Cora Dee Hunt.

Sources: Wikipedia, the Walla Walla Symphony.

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