Rarely is a classical concerto described as a “roller coaster” and “a bat out of hell.”
That’s how Caroline Ulrich, principal flute player with the Greenville Symphony, characterizes the breakneck third movement of C.P.E. Bach’s Flute Concerto in D Minor.
Ulrich will be the featured soloist in the orchestra’s performance of the concerto, March 10-12, at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre.
Also on the program, under the direction of conductor Edvard Tchivzhel, is a “Carmen” suite by Bizet and orchestrated by modern Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin.
Ulrich, who has occupied the orchestra’s principal flute position since 1991, has frequently performed as soloist with the ensemble, having appeared no fewer than 10 times in the past.
She takes on the Bach concerto, a favorite of flute soloists, for the first time.
“I was really excited because I’ve played so many other pieces by C.P.E. Bach,” Ulrich said in a recent phone conversation. “This is a great opportunity to explore this piece I’ve always loved.”
The concerto, the best-known of C.P.E. Bach’s six flute concertos, features a stately first movement, an introspective second and a “roller coaster” for a finale.
“I particularly enjoy the elegant lyricism of the second movement,” Ulrich said. “I think it’s sublime. And the third movement is flat-out exciting.”
In addition to serving as the orchestra’s principal flute player, Ulrich is a faculty member at Furman University. She also taught flute for 20 years at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
A revered Bach
Today, the works of Carl Philippe Emanuel Bach are overshadowed by those of his illustrious father, Johann Sebastian. In his time, however, the younger Bach was highly revered.
“He is the father, we are the kids,” Mozart said of C.P.E. Bach.
The second half of the program will be devoted to a suite of instrumental music from Bizet’s opera “Carmen.” In 1967, the Russian composer Shchedrin orchestrated Bizet’s music for a “Carmen” ballet.
Shchedrin’s colorful orchestration is noted especially for utilizing a wide variety of percussion instruments, several of which would not have been available to a composer during Bizet’s time.
“It’s a digest of the opera for strings and percussion,” Tchivzhel said. “It includes all the tunes many concert-goers know by heart from the opera. The added percussion section brings tremendous intensity and drama to the score. It’s a great, entertaining piece.”
If you go
What: Greenville Symphony Orchestra chamber concert: “Carmen Suite,” with flutist Caroline Ulrich; conducted by Edvard Tchivzhel
When: 7:30 p.m. March 10-11; 3 p.m. March 12
Where: Peace Center Gunter Theatre
Tickets: $60 to $20
Info: 864-467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org