For lovers of classical music, this weekend looks like a great one with the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra's season opener Saturday night and even more music the next day.
The music department at Texarkana College continues its fall season of shows with "An Afternoon of Brahms" on Sunday, 4 p.m., at the Stilwell Humanities Music Hall.
Mary Scott Goode plays piano with Kiril Laskarov on violin and Brett Andrews on cello as they perform two major Brahms sonatas, one for violin and one for cello.
Andrews, a Northwestern State University grad who's taught at the college and high school levels, serves as principal cellist for the TSO and has performed across the Ark-La-Tex and elsewhere with symphonies like Longview, South Arkansas, Shreveport and also the Shreveport Opera.
Laskarov is concertmaster for the TSO and has served in that capacity for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for nearly two decades. As a soloist, this Bulgaria native has performed with symphonies in Las Vegas; Abilene, Texas; Irvine, Calif.; and elsewhere.
Goode, professor of music at TC, says she was able to play the cello sonata with Andrews last year. "We wanted to do it again, and I wanted to do it in my home venue," she explains, adding, "I've always wanted to play the violin sonata, the Brahms in G major."
When she was just a teenager, she was able to play the violin sonata's first movement, but she figures it's time to do it again. That was actually the first time she played for anyone else, she recalled. She loved it.
"I've never got an opportunity to play it since then," Goode said. It means something to her to play it again, now that she can really play it, she says.
Goode, like many others, simply loves the music of Brahms. Why?
"Nobody does sweet and lovely and tender like Brahms does," Goode said, emphasizing his beautiful melodies and harmonies. At the same time, his music is passionate, muscular and vigorous, she said.
"He's very sophisticated in his use of rhythm," Goode said, noting, "It's music for musicians, you might could say."
Additionally, Brahms in these sonatas writes equally for both instruments, so there's a true partnership here at play, the pianist said. It allows them to play big, dynamic ranges with a variety of expressions, performing off of each other.
According to one writer, she said, Brahms compositions are at the top. Composers may have equaled him, but they've never surpassed.
"I'm a fan," Goode said, noting the sonatas allow her to perform "at the top edge of my abilities." But that's a welcome challenge. Brahms himself was a pianist, although he tried his hand with some other instruments. She'll be channeling her inner Brahms on Sunday.
Expect the concert to last about an hour with each piece running about 25 minutes long.
About her colleagues for the evening, they're friends and play together in the TSO. They'll be together Saturday night for the "Symphonic Pictures" concert, and then follow it up with Brahms.
"We want people to go to both things is what we want," Goode said, encouraging music lovers to come out for both days.