By Paul Hyde: February 18, 2016
Jacques Ibert’s Flute Concerto dances around so effervescently that listeners may not realize this:
It’s a bear of a workout for the flute soloist.
“The whole thing is very difficult, said Caroline Ulrich, principal flute player with the Greenville Symphony. “It’s a technically demanding concerto.”
Ulrich will perform the dazzling concerto with the Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra on Feb. 26-28 in the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre.
The concerto, written in 1932-33, is part of a program of French and Italian music titled “Mediterranean Cuisine” — though conductor Edvard Tchivzhel said it’s really an evening of “desserts.”
“We’ll feature very light, sparkling, entertaining music,” said Tchivzhel, who’ll be on the podium for the three concerts.
Also on the program are Rossini’s Overture to “L’Ialiana in Algeri,” Poulenc’s “Sinfonietta” and Ibert’s “Suite Symphonique (Paris).”
Tchivzhel often spotlights soloists from among the orchestra’s ranks in its chamber music series.
Ulrich will be appearing as soloist with the orchestra for the seventh time in the past two decades, though she’s tackling the Ibert concerto for the first time.
It’s a piece that most every professional flutist has attempted privately, though opportunities to perform it publicly are rare, she said.
The piece’s two exuberant outer movements are balanced by a haunting, impressionistic slow section.
For a challenging concerto, Tchivzhel makes an ideal collaborator, Ulrich said.
“There’s no one you’d prefer to have on the podium for a concerto than Edvard Tchivzhel,” she said. “He’s fabulous.”
Ulrich has been working on the concerto, off and on, for a year, and intensely since December, she said.
Based in Sylva, North Carolina, Ulrich has served as the principal flutist of the Greenville Symphony for more than 20 years. She also performs frequently with the Spartanburg Symphony and has taught at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities since 2001.
Previous appointments include teaching positions at Clemson University, Luther College, Mars Hill, and Western Carolina University.
Ulrich earned her master and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Ulrich was born in Blackpool, England. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. when she was very young.
The orchestra’s program opens with Rossini’s Overture to his opera “L’Ialiana in Algeri” (“The Italian Girl in Algiers”), a characteristically exuberant piece.
“It’s a brilliant overture, a sparkling curtain-opener,” Tchivzhel said.
Poulenc’s “Sinfonietta,” from 1947, maintains the lighthearted mood with music that is equal parts graceful and jaunty.
In a more forceful vein, Ibert’s “Suite Symphonique (Paris),” dating from 1930, offers a selection of witty and sometimes raucous musical postcards from a hustling bustling Paris.
The Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s three concerts are presented by The Greenville News.
For the latest in local arts news and reviews, follow Paul Hyde on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.
YOU CAN GO
What: Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s program “Mediterranean Cuisine,” featuring solo flutist Caroline Ulrich
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 26-27; 3 p.m. Feb. 28
Where: Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre
Information: 864-467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org