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Sound of Charlotte Blog

Celebrating the Power of Women in Art

A special collaboration between the Charlotte Symphony and The Mint Museum



In celebration of The Mint Museum's new installation, Foragers, the Charlotte Symphony and The Mint partnered with Wells Fargo to create a short film that unites the visual and performing arts. 

The artistic collaboration features Charlotte Symphony violinist Jenny Topilow, violist Alaina Rea, cellist Sarah Markle, and harpist Andrea Mumm Trammell performing works by Arvo Pärt and Caroline Shaw in front of Summer Wheat's contemporary work of art in the Mint's Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium.

We welcome you to experience the power of women in art presented at the intersection of art, architecture, and music.

This special presentation is brought to you by Wells Fargo, The Private Bank.
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Posted in Community. Tagged as community, CSO Musicians.

Clarinetist Allan Rosenfeld’s Top 10 Orchestral Clarinet Solos



By CSO Clarinetist Allan Rosenfeld

As a 34-year veteran of the CSO, I am often asked what music I particularly like. With that in mind, I've devised a list of my top ten favorite orchestral clarinet solos. Come listen to the orchestra in our performances and you will hear many more examples of great musical passages featuring the clarinet!

10) Respighi: Pines of Rome (end of Pines of the Janiculum)
Respighi effectively highlights the tremendous ppp (pianississimo, or "very very quiet") capabilities of the instrument. As the clarinet sound floats away, a recording of a nightingale can be faintly heard.  

9) Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini
I love Tchaikovsky for his truly memorable melodies. This one especially shows off the expressive qualities of the instrument.


8) Brahms: Symphony No. 3 (opening of second movement)
Gorgeous! You can hear in this solo with woodwind chorale that Brahms had a particular fondness for the sound of the clarinet, and he knew just how to make it sing.

7) Puccini: Tosca (Act III, "E Lucevan le Stelle")
One of the greatest clarinet solos in opera literature, from one of the most readily recognizable Italian arias.


6) Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue (beginning)
Anyone who has ever seen Woody Allen's film "Manhattan" knows there's no way I could leave this showstopper off the list. 

5) Bartok: The Miraculous Mandarin Suite
There are three big clarinet solos spread throughout this suite. And they are big: erotic, wild, frenzied cadenzas with lots of notes!


4) Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (middle of second movement)
The clarinet solo Beethoven wrote here really allows the sound of the instrument to soar above the orchestra.

3) Rimsky-Korsakoff: Cappriccio Espagnol 
A dazzling display of clarinet bravura and technique. 


2) Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 (beginning of first movement)
Another great lyrical solo for clarinet, especially showing off the instrument's ability to taper sound into nothingness.

1) Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 
This solo is one of the most romantic lyrical melodies ever written for the clarinet.



Honorable Mention: Kodaly's Dances of Galanta 
This solo and cadenza seem perfectly suited to the clarinet, full of gypsy character and technical pyrotechnics.

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Posted in Classics. Tagged as CSO Musicians.

CLTSymphony X Beatties Ford Strong



This fall, CSO musicians and the Beatties Ford Strong Project came together to create a video project that was inspired by and features the music of Brooklyn-based violinist and composer Jessica Montgomery, and showcases the Beatties Ford Strong Project, violinist/composer Lady Jess, musicians of the Charlotte Symphony, and Charlotte-based artists. 

Below, we hear from CSO violinist Jenny Topilow, educator/artist/social activist Ricky Singh, and Charlotte-based artists on how the collaboration was conceived, their reactions, and what comes next.


"We have been referring to the project as CLTSymphony X Beatties Ford Strong" Ricky says. "The X is intentional, for we feel that a title that is purposefully not combined respects each entity as having its own identity, and also allows for either side of the equation to be replaced or modified as the project evolves to encourage further community engagement."



"I've always been enamored with public art," Jenny shares, "murals and such that everyone can enjoy by simply being a member of the community; beautiful pieces by talented artists that become interwoven throughout the landscape and make a place more vibrant and colorful."

In February of this year, a quartet of CSO musicians played Jessie Montgomery's Strum for a CSO Off the Rails concert at Snug Harbor. According to Jenny:

We completely fell in love with the piece. We were slated to play it again, but when the pandemic hit, that performance was of course canceled. So, it occurred to me that it would be a lovely marriage to record 'Strum,' during this new virtual age, in front of public art in Charlotte, specifically works created by people of color.

Excited about the idea, I reached out to a muralist friend of mine, who got me in touch with Ricky Singh. Ricky is an artist, educator, community leader/activist, and one of the founders of the Beatties Ford Strong/Historic West End Project, an initiative to beautify neglected areas of the city through public art paired with community ownership, brought about as a reaction to the June 19, 2020 massacre on Beatties Ford Road, where four people were killed and several others injured.

My introduction to Ricky was the catalyst for the project to really take flight through intentional collaboration. We communicate well and ended up making a good team; we are mutually intent on the vision and are invested in being proactive and bringing the best of what we know to the table. All that being said, there is no way for me to truly express how grateful I am to Ricky. He is a beacon within the Charlotte community, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have formed a partnership with him.

There are so many artistic circles throughout Charlotte that are too often separated by class and race. The purpose of this project is to bring some of those circles together; not for one to overshadow another, not for one to do the other a favor, not for one to mold to the other, but for local creatives to do what they love all within the same space. We are committed to having more multi-faceted performances throughout Charlotte, through the lens of all art being accessible to all people, and with the ultimate objective of limitless circles overlapping to create a more connected city.


"My experience with the project was nothing like I ever experienced before," Artist Michael Grant shares. "This project captured both classical art and visual arts simultaneously. As an artist this project made me feel valuable and appreciated. It was such an honor to be a part of this moment of history and to collaborate with great artists as well." 

Artist Makayla Binter also shares that "[the project] was just so pure and enjoyable because of the connection between artistic forms, and just the positive energy that creating makes. It was a great experience to live paint and also meet some very talented artists in music that I had never met before."


Ricky and Jenny plan to unveil the finished video at an event on a large screen, where they would also auction off the pieces of art created during filming. It is not finalized, but they are hoping to utilize a space like Camp Northend, where people can come to a beautiful outdoor area and celebrate in a Covid-safe way. All proceeds would go to provide local youth programming tied to the arts. 

Credits:


Organized by Ricky Singh and Jenny Topilow

Featured Artists:
Michael Grant (@infamous_kiddo)
Makayla Binter (
@mkay_15)
Ricky Singh (
@mrrickysingh)
DJ Pauly Guwop (
@djpaulyguwop)
Lord Phly (
@lordphly)
Lute West (
@lute_west9)
Dancer: Jessica Thompson (
@babyhairprincess)
Spoken Word: Hannah Hasan (
@iamhannahhasan)
CSO Musicians: Jenny Topilow, violin; Lenora Leggatt, violin; Ben Geller, viola; and Sarah Markle, cello

Videographer/video & sound editor:

Bob Rydel
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Posted in Community. Tagged as community, CSO Musicians.

What Christopher Warren-Green Loves About CSO On Demand

Photo by Joshua Komer, The Charlotte Observer

Christopher Warren-Green sees opportunities as he embarks on an unprecedented season at the helm of the Charlotte Symphony

When Music Director Christopher Warren-Green returned to Charlotte in October, it had been more than 7 months since he stood at the podium. "It's like a great big hole in your life," he said about the lengthy break from performing. "It's forced me to slow down and reevaluate what's important." 

One thing that's important to Maestro Warren-Green is getting back to work with the musicians of the CSO. "When you have an Orchestra that's played together for 80 years, it becomes like its own instrument a well-oiled machine with its own developed sound. If they go too long without playing together it can cause problems, not to mention that we'd all have nervous breakdowns! At the end of the day, we all live, eat, and breathe music. You wouldn't do this job if that wasn't true."

"We are living in a technological revolution, and maybe something good comes out of this."

While concerts this season -- Warren-Green's eleventh with the CSO -- might be a bit different, the Maestro is looking forward to the opportunities that it will bring. "Because of social distancing, we've had to scale down from our full symphony orchestra. What that does, strangely enough, is give us the opportunity to explore repertoire that we wouldn't normally be able to share with our audience."

CSO on Demand -- the Symphony's virtual concert series -- includes two concerts conducted by Maestro Warren-Green this fall, including works by Brahms, Dvořák, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky. He's been pleasantly surprised by the success of virtual concerts during the quarantine. "As a musician watching the BBC Proms from my living room this year, it was almost like the concert was happening just for me. And knowing that there were thousands of other people in their houses feeling the same thing; it really got into my heart. I thought, 'Wow! There is something really special going on.' We are living in a technological revolution, and maybe something good comes out of this."

His advice for you? "Get dressed, go into your living room, have a glass of wine, sit down and make sure no one interrupts you. Do that and watch our virtual concerts, and you'll get something extraordinary from it." Read more

Posted in Classics. Tagged as CSO On Demand, Music Director, Virtual Concerts.

How to Access CSO Virtual Concerts



A Purchaser's/Subscriber's Guide to Accessing CSO Virtual Concerts

We are thrilled to offer you the best seat in YOUR house to our new virtual series, CSO On Demand and On Tap Live @ NoDa. If you're tuning in for the first time or coming back to watch again, keep reading for more information on how to enjoy the concert from the comfort of your own home.

Attention all CSO Subscribers: NO action/purchase is required to receive CSO On Demand access.

How to Access CSO Virtual Concerts

 
Step 1:
A few days prior to the concert release date, you will receive an email from your Charlotte Symphony that includes a link to a password protected page on the CSO website. Simply click or tap the link to open the page.



Step 2:
After clicking the access link, enter the username and password provided in the email. Important: The username and password are case sensitive. Copy and paste when possible to avoid mistakes.



Step 3:
You're in! After successfully entering the login credentials, you will be able to view the concert on our website. Press the play button and enjoy! Important: The concert video will appear exactly at the stated start time. You may need to refresh the page (This icon  next to your address bar) for the video to appear.



Your access to each concert lasts for seven days, so feel free to watch again and again!
For more information about how to access CSO On Demand or On Tap Live @ NoDa from a variety of devices, including your computer, phone, or smart TV, please click here.


If you have any issues accessing the stream, please contact Patron Services at 704.972.2000 or ticketoffice@charlottesymphony.org. Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community, Virtual Concerts.

SLIDESHOW: A Home Run at Truist Field

Your Charlotte Symphony hit a home run at Truist Field on Saturday! Concert-goers were greeted by Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and enjoyed a beautiful program celebrating Charlotte with special appearances by mezzo-soprano Jennifer Wiggins, Charlotte Symphony Brass, and Charlotte Knight's mascot Homer the Dragon before enjoying a big fireworks finale. (Photos by Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights unless otherwise noted.)

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It's a beautiful day in Uptown Charlotte as staff and musicians get ready for the concert on the infield.
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Workers from Atrium Health check temperatures before concertgoers head into Truist Field to find their seats.
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Charlotte Symphony President & CEO David Fisk meets with TV crews for interviews in the press box. (photo courtesy of the Charlotte Symphony)
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Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles welcomes the crowd under a skyline lit in CSO teal for the occasion.
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The night's soloist, Jennifer Wiggins opens the concert with a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
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Music Director Christopher Warren-Green conducts the CSO in Nkeiru Okoye's Charlotte Mecklenburg, a piece commissioned by the Symphony on the occasion of Charlotte's 250th anniversary.
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Ms. Wiggins performs Che faro senza Euridice from Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice.
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The Orchestra receives a standing ovation after a moving performance of Barber's Adagio for Strings.
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Uh-oh... General Manager John Clapp has paused the concert for a conference on the mound with Warren-Green and Concertmaster Calin Lupanu.
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In the meantime, Charlotte Knights mascot Homer the Dragon leads the crowd in an enthusiastic chorus of "Take me out to the ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch.
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After hitting it out of the part, Christopher Warren-Green takes one more swing for the fences before passing the proverbial baton to the Charlotte Symphony Brass.
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Trumpet players Alex Wilborn and Jon Kaplan, French horn player Andrew Fierova, trombonist Tom Burge, and bass trombone player Scott Hartman came on in relief to finish the show.
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After performing works by The Beatles, Leonard Bernstein, and Duke Ellington, the Charlotte Symphony Brass Players waved to a roaring crowd.
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Fireworks light up the sky in Uptown Charlotte.
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Socially-distanced fans enjoy a noisy and illuminating grand finale before heading home.
 
 

Find out how you can experience your Charlotte Symphony in-person or from the comfort of your own home! Explore our Reimagined Fall Season hereRead more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.

A Home Run for Charlotte



The Charlotte Symphony will be sliding into a new home base on October 24 when we perform "A Concert for Charlotte" a special live event presented in partnership with the Charlotte Knights at Truist Field. The event is designed to celebrate Charlotte and bring our community back together safely through the power of music.

Under the baton of Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, "A Concert for Charlotte" will open with the Star Spangled Banner, sung by Charlotte-based opera singer Jennifer Wiggins. Wiggins will also step up to the plate to perform Che faro senza Euridice from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice. She had this to say about being part of this special event: 

"This performance at Truist Field will not only be my debut with CSO, but also will be the first time I've performed for a live audience since February. I'm excited for the opportunity to share my voice with Charlotte and to collaborate with an amazing group of world class musicians. I hope that the piece that I perform will allow people to find closure from any heartbreak they might be experiencing and help them realize it's okay to mourn the ones you've loved and lost."
Jennifer Wiggins
The concert will continue its celebration of Charlotte with Nkeiru Okoye's Charlotte Mecklenburg -- a piece commissioned by the Charlotte Symphony on the occasion of Charlotte's 250th anniversary which reflects the rich and diverse history of the city -- Rossini's Overture to L'Italiana in Algeri, Jessie Montgomery's Starburst, Barber's Adagio for Strings, John Williams's Air and Simple Gifts, and the final movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.

Finish the night with some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and enjoy a brilliant fireworks display that will light up the Uptown sky. 

Music Director Christopher Warren-Green said, "My hope is that everyone will join us at A Concert for Charlotte so that we can come together again through the power of music." Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.

Remembering Former CSO Bass Clarinetist Jim Ognibene



By Gene Kavadlo, former principal clarinetist of the Charlotte Symphony

As the orchestra was rehearsing, the loud sound of a vacuum cleaner in the lobby was becoming increasingly annoying. Finally, the conductor asked his assistant, a rather diminutive fellow, to see if he could do something about it. Jordan went to the lobby. Suddenly there was a THWAP! and the annoying sound stopped abruptly. Without missing a beat, Jim said "Oh no, now we're going to have to get Jordan out of the bag." Anyone who knew Jim knew that he was the sharpest wit in the room. My children, now in their 40's, always referred to him as "our Jim." Our Jim succumbed to a 17 year battle with cancer on August 11, 2020.

I first met Jim in our student days at Indiana University during the 1960's. After college Jim served four years in the military as a member of the US Marine Band and White House Orchestra, and I went on to become the Principal Clarinetist of the Charlotte Symphony in N.C. One day I got a call that started with "You probably don't remember me..." It was Jim, and of course I knew exactly who he was. He had taken an audition with the Charlotte Symphony and won the job - beginning a fabulous eight year relationship as colleagues in the same Orchestra. It was in the Charlotte Symphony that Jim started playing the bass clarinet. There had been an older gentleman playing, but his skills were declining. One day the instrument fell over as it was resting in its stand, and Jim declared that it had committed suicide. 

When Jim won a job at the MET I had very mixed feelings. I didn't want to lose my dear colleague, but he certainly couldn't pass up a career move like that. Before leaving Charlotte Jim found out that one of his first assignments would be to play the basset horn obligato from Mozart's Clemenza di Tito. Jim had never played the basset horn, nor heard Clemenza di Tito. We listened to a recording in my living room (before YouTube days), and Jim burst out laughing. When I asked him what was so funny, he said "I'm so glad I get to play this at the MET before I play it someplace really important." Naturally, his performance several weeks later was superb. Thus began his 33 year tenure as Principal Bass Clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Jim's playing can be heard on numerous Grammy award winning Metropolitan Orchestra recordings, including Wagner's Ring Cycle on Deutsche Gramophone. He was also a member of the All-Star Orchestra made up of leading players from major American Orchestras. He served many summers in the Spoleto, Grand Teton, Bard, Napa Valley and Verbier festivals, and was an instructor at Julliard.

Former Principal Oboist of the MET, John Ferrillo, visited Jim a few days before he passed and played some beautiful oboe music for him. This is a story from John: "When Jim was stationed with the Marine Band in DC, he was dating an oboist. On a number of occasions he would make the 3 hour drive to Philly to bring her to her lesson with John deLancie, first oboist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. On one of those drives he needed to use the bathroom; when he asked permission, Mr. deLanci told him no.

"Years later, Mr. and Madame deLancie came to the MET. They were ardent opera fans. At the end of one of the performances, they met me at the gift shop. Before we parted company, he asked me who was playing the basset horn in Clemenza di Tito two broadcasts ago. I was delighted - 'funny you should mention him; that was my close friend, Jim Ognibene.' 'Well...let me tell you - that was some of the finest woodwind playing I have ever heard!' 'Why, Mr. deLancie, that's Jim coming through the doors right there.' Mr. deLancie insisted on taking Jim aside and spoke avidly to him for a number of minutes. For Jim it was one of the greatest accolades he'd ever received."

Later that night, I called Jim. Of course, I knew the line was coming. "I thought the time was right for me to ask if I could use his bathroom now."


Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family and friends.
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Posted in Community. Tagged as CSO Musicians, Musicians.

How to Stream Your CSO from the Best Seat in YOUR House



Now you can enjoy your Charlotte Symphony from the best seat in the house your favorite living room chair! 

We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable attending concerts in person at this time, but we're committed to bringing music to you, wherever you are! If technology feels like a barrier, we want to help. Check out our tips below and you'll be able to live stream the CSO right to your preferred device. 

Watch on your phone, tablet, or computer

When you purchase tickets to a CSO live stream or recorded performance, you will be provided a link CSO (sent via email up to 2 days prior to the concert date) and login information to a CSO website page. Simply click or tap on the link in your email, login in using credentials provided in the email, and enjoy the performance.

Watch on your TV


Android TV
Connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Android TV, access the video using your device (using the directions above), tap on the Cast icon on the video, and select the name of your TV. When Cast changes color, you have successfully connected.

Apple TV
Connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV, access the video using your device (using the directions above), tap the Cast icon on the video, and then choose your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV to connect.

Chromecast
If you have a Chromecast connected to your TV, simply connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast, download the Google Home app on your device (not necessary for computers), access the video on your device (using the directions above), tap on the Cast icon on the video, and select your Chromecast or TV name.

Smart TV Internet App
To watch on your smart TV, locate the internet or preferred search engine app (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Samsung TV Web Browser, etc.) on your TV's home screen and enter in the link URL provided by your CSO (sent via email up to 2 days prior to the concert date). From there, enter in the login information to access the page, and then click the full screen icon on the video.

Music Director Christopher Warren-Green has some of his own advice for how to enjoy our virtual concerts: "Get dressed, go into your living room, have a glass of wine, sit down and make sure no one interrupts you. Do that and watch our virtual concerts, and you'll get something extraordinary from it."

Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community, Virtual Concerts.

SLIDESHOW: A Joyful Return to Live Music

Your Charlotte Symphony held its first live concert since March on Tuesday night, and boy did it feel good! A little drizzle couldn't stop the music or the smiles on the faces of CSO musicians, staff, and excited concertgoers. 

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Ticket Services Manager Meghan greeted concert-goers outside NoDa Brewing Co. with a smile that could be felt even through her layers of PPE.
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Guests grabbed a cold one, sat with friends and family, and toasted to the Charlotte Symphony's first concert since March.
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CSO principal cellist Alan Black and violinist Jenny Topilow warm up while video equipment is tested for the symphony's first ever live streamed concert.
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Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees does a quick interview with Spectrum News before donning his "host" hat for the live and virtual audiences.
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A little drizzle couldn't put a damper on new President and CEO David Fisk's excitement over hearing live music after such a long drought.
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Undeterred by the rain, the CSO's die-hard fans pulled out umbrellas while Christopher James Lees and Suzie Ford, owner of NoDa Brewing, Co., welcomed them to the concert.
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Associated concertmaster Joseph Meyer, violinist Jenny Topilow, principal violist Ben Geller, and principal cellist Alan Black opened the concert with Florence Price's String Quartet - a warm, lyrical work infused with the sounds of Price's African American heritage.
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This couple found a dry spot under the trees to relax while Price's work was brought to life by the CSO's talented musicians.
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In person tickets for this concert were sold out, but for the first time we also welcomed a live virtual audience!
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Skies began to clear as the final notes of Haydn's String Quartet Op. 76, No. 2 rang out and the musicians received a warm standing ovation.
 
 

We hope you'll join us for another On Tap Live @ NoDa, either in person or virtually! Visit charlottesymphony.org/ontap for details. Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.

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