02/20/04 — Community Concert review

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Community Concert review

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on February 20, 2004 2:01 PM

Strauss Damenkapelle was small in number, but mighty in talent.

The six musicians and two singers earned a full standing ovation twice and a partial standing ovation once during their concert Thursday night at Wayne Community College.

The performance was the third in the Wayne Community Concerts 2003-04 season and was well-attended.

Damenkapelle means "ladies' orchestra," which this was. The musicians, who were dressed in black and white with colorful scarves and sashes, seemed to enjoy themselves as they played the music of Johann Strauss -- Sr. and Jr., Hans Mielenz, Nico Dostal and other composers of Viennese music.

Joining them were singers Robert Woroniecki and Nichaelia Schlegl, who had voices that filled the auditorium and showmanship that kept the audience's attention.

Among the numbers played were "Take Everything With Ease," "In the Gypsy's Camp," "The Czardas Princess," and the most famous Viennese tune of all time, "The Blue Danube."

Many were fast-paced and joyful, including the encore, "Radetzky March," during which Woroniecki led the audience in clapping along.

Strauss Damenkapelle was founded by Barbara Reinprecht-Schellenberg as a woman's chamber orchestra in 1987 and evolved into its current form.

The musicians come from six countries: Vienna, Poland, Germany, Italy, the Ukraine and Turkey. They play violin, clarinet, flute, cello and piano.

In addition to performing, they educated their audience about the music and the composers.

Ms. Reinprecht-Schellenberg spoke comfortably to the audience on a number of occasions and her knowledge of and love for the music was evident.

At one point, the performers took their audience into a Viennese coffeehouse. A small table with two chairs, two glasses and a wine bottle sat not far from a Hungarian flag.

Ms. Reinprecht-Schellenberg said that the first Viennese coffeehouse opened in 1684, and that "the average time we spend on one cup of coffee is about two hours."

Why so long? Because there are newspapers from across the world to read and live music to enjoy.

As the musicians played "Vienna, You Are the City of My Dreams," Woroniecki and Ms. Schlegl played a couple who flirt at the coffeehouse. It was a humorous performance that caused the audience to laugh.

The entire show was a pleasure and, not only received standing ovations, but a number of positive comments during intermission and at the show's conclusion.