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Violinist Andrew Jennings in a free solo recital at UB on Thursday

Andrew Jennings

Andrew Jennings

Classical music fans of the solo violin repertoire will not want to miss University of Michigan professor of violin Andrew Jennings, a former member of the now disbanded and much-missed Concord String Quartet, perform in Baird Recital Hall at UB this Thursday, April 30 at 2:30pm. His program will consist of a single 75 minute long work, George Rochberg’s 1970 Caprice Variations for Solo Violin, based on the famous 24th caprice by Niccolò Paganini. Rochberg (1918-2005) started out as an exponent of serialism, but abandoned it after the death of his teenage son, finding the technique an inadequate means to express his grief and rage. While Rochberg was initially criticized in some quarters for then starting to compose in a style that has been described as “new Romanticism,” his works composed in his new tonal idiom eventually gained him a much larger audience, and remain very much listenable today.

While composers such as Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and Lutosławski had already written very effective works on Paganini’s 24th caprice, Rochberg manages to “traverse a panorama of musical styles from Baroque to chance and abstract expressionism” in his remarkable tour de force. A whimsical slide show will accompany the performance, which is free and open to the public. Parking passes are available from the concert office.

—by Jan Jezioro