October 29th, 2019
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s 30th Anniversary celebration continued through this concert, as president Kaye Lanning Minchew paid tribute to the musicians that played in the very first LSO concert, 30 years ago. Several members of that original orchestra were in attendance and were individually recognized.
Sam Lee, who was on that first roster, was additionally thanked for his work throughout these 30 years and is now one of the youth program instructors. His students, as well as all the LSYO students, will be performing their full LSYO Fall Concert on November 12, 2019. You will be amazed at the level these young musicians have achieved in their music studies.
The Sounds of Dance evening began slowly and quietly, with a single snare drum rhythm. It was Ravel’s Bolero, which is a set of eighteen interpretations of one original theme. Usually a snare drum is associated with a march, however Ravel used the snare drum here as the foundation for a ballet in 1928 Paris. Bolero showcased various instruments and combinations of instruments. Utilizing numerous LSO soloists, the music continually and purposefully built presence throughout. The snare drum moved steadily with increasing volume and number of instruments involved in the theme. It all culminated at the very end, rather abruptly, but effectively. The audience loved it.
In contrast, the next piece centered the instrumentation on the single voice of the oboe. Blending beautifully, the LSO kept the focus on the soloist. Piazzolla’s Oblivion, an Argentine tango, is sultry and quietly dramatic. The depth and complex mix of emotions in this piece came through with the oboe. Piazzolla performed this piece himself as soloist on the accordion-like bandeon. He also arranged it for other instrumentation seeing its vast potential. An Argentine tango is danced differently than what you are probably used to seeing. It has no basic step but is danced entirely with improvisation and usually in close embrace. Oblivion is one of Piazzola’s most frequently performed tangos, and equally well-loved by listeners and dancers alike.
Next was Danzon No. 2 from the Mexican composer, Marquez. This was wonderfully performed, beginning with clarinet as smooth as tempered chocolate underlined with a simple Latin rhythm, again relying heavily on percussion. The music modulates and becomes more energetic. Progressing through numerous tempo and flavor changes, its saucy brilliance was engaging, with more solos! The audience exploded with approval, this piece was dynamic, beautifully executed, and noticeably fun to perform.
After intermission the LSO moved through Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances nos. 5-8. Originally written as a request for ‘chamber music of folk flavor’, Dvorak orchestrated them after seeing how popular they were. Performing the last four of a set of eight dances, these beautiful dances are gently expressive.
In high contrast, next came Copland’s Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo, a Western ballet, evoking high-spirited cowboys and cowgirls, rollicking fun, and high adventure. Dancing through four ideas, the evening ended with the familiar and energetic Hoe-Down.
This concert may have opened in a quiet and meandering fashion, but it ended at full gallop! This was a great concert, and an extensive sampling of moods through dance music. Here are some photos of pre-concert preparations backstage, along with a few quick Patron snapshots before the lights dimmed.
The next LSO concert, Sounds of Peace, is an uplifting holiday concert on December 10th at 7:30 p.m. at Callaway Auditorium in LaGrange, GA and will delight and dazzle. It includes a thrilling collaboration between the LSO, the Choral Society of West Georgia and pianist, Andrew Harry in the presentation of Beethoven’s fantastic Choral Fantasy! It is a magnificent composition that joyfully showcases the orchestra, piano and chorus. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience such a powerful work and be filled with the holiday spirit.
Thank you for supporting the arts in LaGrange, and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.