Symphony ‘Titan’ to make its debut

The performance requires an expanded horn section.
Friday, February 9, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:25 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

After last year’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Alex Innecco, music director at Missouri United Methodist Church, decided he wanted to again bring something big to the people of Columbia. That something is Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan,” which will be the church’s largest orchestral performance to date.

“People are going to be blown away with the power of this work,” Innecco said. “It’s really phenomenal. As I tell the orchestra, it’s grown-up music.”

The performance will feature the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra, which is run through the church and includes musicians of all ages from throughout the community.

The size of the production is unusual for its venue: 70 musicians, including five percussionists and more than 30 string players, will be performing. They will be concentrated at the front of the sanctuary, with some overflowing into the adjoining aisles and the choir loft.

“It’s an enormous number of musicians for our scale,” Innecco said. “But everybody came (to rehearsal) and everybody’s playing happily because it’s so rare to do it.”

Trumpeter Julianna Schroeder said Mahler’s symphonies are challenging and she’s excited to play the concert. “This is an ambitious undertaking by Alex and this group of musicians,” Schroeder said.

Marcia Spence, who teaches French horn in MU’s School of Music, praised the orchestra’s ability to draw in the larger musical community. “It’s giving several of our students a great opportunity,” Spence said. “I couldn’t be more pleased that three of my horn students are getting the opportunity to play this music.”

“Titan” calls for seven hornists, three beyond the usual for a symphony, to stand up at the end of the piece — something horn players are typically reluctant to do.

Also on the program is a movement from Holst’s “The Planets,” only this arrangement is for organ. Craig Datz, organist for Missouri United Methodist Church, will perform “Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity” on the church’s 75-year-old organ.

Innecco plans to introduce both works, put them in context and, as he put it, break the ice with the audience.

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