Neil Tatman, a professor of oboe at the University of Arizona, was recently appointed principal oboist for the Reno Philharmonic. - Photo courtesy of Rogue Valley Symphony

Rogue Valley Symphony

In its third concert series of the season, Rogue Valley Symphony, under the direction of Martin Majkut, will present soundscapes likely to elicit images of rugged English fishing villages, Scottish castle ruins and idyllic French countrysides.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Performing Arts Center, 830 N.E. Ninth St., Grants Pass.

The series will showcase master oboist Neil Tatman in two French compositions, "The Flower Clock," by Jean Francaix, and "Gymnopédies No.1 and 3," written by Erik Satie and orchestrated by Claude Debussy.

"(Tatman) is my favorite oboist," Majkut says. "His dark, husky sound ... is very inspired by human voice, and I very much see it in his playing. It has a beautiful singing quality."

Majkut suggested Tatman play "The Flower Clock," which turned out to be his favorite oboe concerto, showing off the instrument's musical personalities.

"The Flower Clock" is light, airy and elegant — thus, quintessentially French. The piece is based on a theory by 18th-century botanist Carl Linnaeus, who suggested the pattern of flowers opening and closing in a day resemble a clock. The piece comprises seven vignettes, named after seven flowers and organized in the order in which they open.

Tatman also will perform two, short, lyrical pieces by Satie, a forerunner of the impressionism and dadaism movements. Both selections go really well with oboe, Majkut says.

The symphony will bookend these delicate French compositions with two contrasting, dramatic, rhythmically charged, Britain-inspired pieces — "Four Sea Interludes" by Benjamin Britten and Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56, "Scottish" by German composer Felix Mendelssohn.

The interludes — "Dawn," "Sunday Morning," "Moonlight" and "Storm" — are the seams of Britten's opera "Peter Grimes" and portray the perpetual struggles of fishermen making their livelihoods at the mercy of the sea.

"The music is very dramatic and lends itself to the description of a storm with wind and big ocean waves that clash on the rocks," Majkut describes. "Those kind of effects you can hear in both of the British pieces. ... In the middle, you get a break from those forces of nature. You get to retreat to this ideal country with green pastures and beautiful spring weather."

The concerts will close with Mendelssohn's "Scottish," written in 1829 after one of his many tours of Scotland. Mendelssohn pinpointed the inspiration of this symphony to his visits of the ruins of Queen Mary's palace and a roofless, grass-carpeted chapel nearby.

Tickets cost $33 to $44 for the Ashland show, $28 to $38 for the Medford show and $20 to $34 for the Grants Pass show. Student tickets cost $5 at all shows. Call 541-552-6398 or see www.rvsymphony.org.

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