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SINGING PRAISES
BPO CONCERTMASTER HAS MUCH TO SHARE ABOUT COMPOSER

PREVIEW

WHAT: Concertmaster Charles Haupt and the BPO

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Kleinhans Music Hall

TICKETS: $21 to $64

INFO: 885-5000

Charles Haupt, concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, is a man of few words, preferring to reach audiences with his expressive violin playing. Unlike many concert artists, Haupt appears to have an aversion to talking about himself.

Still, Haupt can't quite hide his enthusiasm about Ludwig Spohr's Violin Concerto No. 8, "Gesangszene," which he'll be performing with the BPO this Saturday and Sunday. He values the piece for sentimental as well as aesthetic reasons.

"I've always loved the piece very much," Haupt says. "And it also brings back memories of one of my teachers, William Kroll, with whom I studied when I was young. I was thinking about him a lot the last couple of years."

Haupt recalls Kroll, who was the first violinist of the Kroll String Quartet, as a tough teacher and a man of exquisite musical sensibilities. "He was a great stylist, fantastic, an impeccable technician. He had a wonderful rhythm, all kinds of great stuff. Plus," he laughs, "I liked him."

"I started chamber music with him when I was 14," Haupt adds. "I changed over to him as a teacher when I was 18 or 19. Chamber music stuff was really different about the violin lessons. Once a week, friends of mine would play chamber music for him. I learned a great deal from him."

Spohr, who lived from 1784 to 1859, was also a violin teacher, a smart, witty man whose memoirs paint a vivid picture of the musical times in which he lived. A subtle player with a rich, warm tone, he was perceived by the public as the artistic opposite to Paganini, his more flamboyant contemporary. Spohr placed musicality over virtuosity, and his polished technique had a considerable impact on German violin playing.

"He worked like a dog," says Haupt, who has looked into Spohr's life.

Happily, he adds, Spohr had a hardy constitution. "He was an imposing figure of a man. He was over 6 feet tall. He looked like a football player. He had a big, huge sound. He was one of the great violinists of his day."

Spohr's eighth concerto bears the nickname "Gesangszene," which means "singing scenes" and refers to the music's sheer, glorious songfulness. It's this operatic quality that Haupt believes will make even a first-time listener love the work.

"Just listen to the beautiful music and melodies," he says.

Haupt will perform Spohr's concerto with the BPO and assistant conductor Ron Spigelman at 8 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also on the program: Daniel S. Godfrey's "Lightscape" and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in D Minor.

Buffalo goes jet set! BPO conductor JoAnn Falletta's picture is on the cover of Private Clubs magazine. The magazine has a Web site, www.privateclubs.com that allows a viewer to glimpse the current issue.

"Maestro JoAnn Falletta," the magazine's cover reads. (It should be "Maestra," but we won't look this gift horse in the mouth.) A profile box lists Falletta's residence as Buffalo and Norfolk, Va., and her club membership as the Town Point Club in Norfolk. And the story begins: "Even as a young girl growing up in Queens, New York, JoAnn Falletta knew what she wanted to do with her life."

Other articles in the same issue include "Jack Nicklaus is back in Texas," "The Plaza Club Honolulu - Where Aloha Begins" and "R&R on Your Own Caribbean Island."

e-mail: mkunz@buffnews.com

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