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Symphony's 6-minute challenge.

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero and the Eugene Symphony bring the sounds of outer space to the Hult Center's Silva Concert Hall on Thursday in the second regular performance of the season.

This program begins with the most difficult piece the symphony will perform this season, Guerrero says: an atonal work by Anton Webern.

A student of Arnold Schoenberg, Webern composed 12-tone music that dispenses with traditional harmony and substitutes a precise mathematical arrangement in which each of the 12 notes of the scale occurs without repeating.

``This is going to be a challenge for the audience, in my opinion, but it is a wonderful challenge,'' Guerrero says. ``It is our duty not only to play the well-known works but to present interesting types of repertoire.''

Interesting it will be, and - if it's not your cup of tea - mercifully brief, at only six minutes long.

``Webern believed the human ear could not take atonality for too long,'' the conductor says. ``I agree with that.''

Guest violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama then joins the orchestra for William Walton's viola concerto, one of the standard pieces in the viola repertoire.

The evening will conclude with Gustav Holst's "The Planets," a seven-movement tone poem composed during World War I.

Echoes of Holst's well-known work can be heard in much of today's outer-space movie music, such as John Williams' scores for "Star Wars" and "Superman."

"It's just fabulous," Guerrero says of "The Planets."

``One of the great tone poems of the 20th century. It has everything.

``It's loud and bombastic, and by the same token you have this very beautiful lyrical writing.''

CONCERT PREVIEW

Eugene Symphony Orchestra

Program: Webern's variations for orchestra; Walton's viola concerto; Holst's "The Planets"

Where: Hult Center

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: $15 to $56, 682-5000

CAPTION(S):

Nokuthula Ngwenyama will be the soloist for Eugene Symphony's performance of William Walton's Viola Concerto on Thursday.
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Title Annotation:Arts & Literature
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 16, 2005
Words:317
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