The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's free outdoor concert Tuesday evening at Strathmore Hall was both festive and sad. "A Salute to Heroes" combined a tribute to members of the armed forces with a memorial to the 11 residents of Montgomery County who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Their names were read out after intermission, with a pause for reflection after each, and the music after this simple ceremony took on an air of solemnity and patriotism.
Before intermission, it was a regular classical concert, the orchestra settling into the home away from home where, beginning in February, it plans to give 40 concerts a year in the new concert hall. Principal trumpeter Andrew Balio soloed brilliantly, with Andrew Constantine conducting, in Haydn's Trumpet Concerto, and Constantine led vigorous performances of Brahms's Hungarian Dances No. 5 and 6, probably the best known of these works.
After intermission, Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" introduced a patriotic program that included medleys of the armed forces' anthems and of George M. Cohan tunes, Carmen Dragon's arrangement of "America the Beautiful" and the "Nimrod" movement from Elgar's "Enigma" Variations. Bass-baritone Robert Cantrell brought a powerful, well-controlled voice to "If I Can Help Somebody," "Going Home" and "God Bless America."
-- Joseph McLellan