Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra Winter Concert "Darkness and Light" March 9

Mar 4 2013

The Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra will present concerts on the theme "Darkness and Light" on March 9 at 3 p.m. at John’s Lutheran Church Hall, 500 3rd Street West in Northfield and March 10 at 4 p.m. at the Paradise Center for the Arts, 321 Central Avenue North in Faribault. 

The Orchestra will render strong emotional musical statements about some of the basic moods of life, including remorse, joy, adventure, glory, and happiness. These will come to the listener through the genius of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, German Max Bruch, and Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, whose music incorporates darkness and light in sound.

The two March 2013 concerts will feature cellist Anna Clift.  Ms. Clift will be soloist in Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, a musical prayer based on the Hebrew service. The cello imitates the cadences of the synagogue cantor.

Ms. Clift is a resident of Northfield and teaches cello at St. Olaf College, where she has also organized a well-known summer cello camp.  A graduate of Indiana University, she has also participated in the Banff School of Fine Arts, Spoleto Festival, Washington Island Music Festival and the Britt Music Festival.  Ms. Clift is also a frequent performer with the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The concert opens with Franz Liszt’s tone poem “Les Preludes”, a dramatic work with flourishes in the strings and strong impassioned statements from the winds and brass. Though it starts slowly and ominously, it grows to a frenzied finish. Liszt’s own writings about the piece

What else is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown Hymn, the first and solemn note of which is intoned by Death? Love is the glowing dawn of all existence; but what is the fate where the first delights of happiness are not interrupted by some storm, the mortal blast of which dissipates its fine illusions, the fatal lightning of which consumes its altar?”

The concert closes with Jean Sibelius’ vibrant Third Symphony. Written in 1906, the work is considered more classically oriented that his earlier more adventurous compositions. The themes bear a relationship to Finnish folk music and to some melodies Sibelius wrote for an opera project that never developed. Sibelius is enjoying a new popularity in recent years, as his works get more playing time in concert halls.

Tickets for the March 9 concert can be purchased at the Northfield Arts Guild Center for the Arts in person or by calling 507-645-8877 or online at Tickets for the March 10 concert can be purchased at the Paradise Center for the Arts either in person or by calling 507-332-7372 or online at  

The Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra, in its 34th season, presents concerts throughout the year to audiences in Northfield, Faribault, Red Wing and many other regional communities. These are also the homes of the players in the group.

Conductor Dr. Paul Niemisto, on the music faculty at St. Olaf College, founded the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra in 1979 to meet the needs of the many fine orchestral musicians residing in the region. He was recently named Northfield’s Living Legend in the Arts by the City’s Arts and Culture Commission. He is also Artistic Director of the Vintage Band Festival, an international gathering of wind and brass players, taking place in Northfield this summer, August 1-4.

This Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra concert is sponsored by Frandsen Bank & Trust in Dundas and the seasonal sponsor Community Resource Bank.  Further funding comes from the Northfield Arts guild, the McKnight Foundation, Southeast Minnesota Arts Council, and the MN State Legislature through the Clear Water, Air, and Legacy Amendment.

For further information about the orchestra and this season, see

Darkness and Light