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A rousing start to its five-concert Masterworks Series, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Friday evening concert featured two virtuosic women in classical music: composer Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor and violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen playing Max Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy.”
Establishing a Scottish theme to the first half of the concert along with Bruch’s Fantasy, the concert opener Felix Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture” was motivated by the composer’s trip to Scotland, the same trip that would inspire his famous “Scottish Symphony.” During a rather rugged excursion in the Island of Staffa in the Inner Hebrides, an archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland, Mendelssohn visited Fingal’s Cave, known for its acoustics and black basalt pillars. Following this experience, he wrote a letter to his family with the opening theme to the overture enclosed.