A MUCH LOVED – CLASSIC EVENT
“I couldn’t miss this [concert], Mozart is my absolute favorite composer.”
The evening of Mozart began with two additional pieces added to the program for the annual “side-by-side.” This is the time of year, when members of the Youth Orchestra (LSYO) are paired with professional musicians. They physically sit beside them, play the same music, and react to the same cues from the conductor. This has proven to be a very valuable learning experience for the students. At this concert, we had the LSYO string sections. The full Youth Orchestra with strings, wind, brass, and percussion, will perform their spring concert Tuesday, March 26th, 7:00 PM at Callaway Auditorium.
Dr. Prior explained that beginning with Reed’s Suite Concertante was by special choice for the side-by-side, since the Reed pieces were great for warming up the strings. He also took time to recognize and thank the LSYO director, Celeste Myall. Each year, the students’ preparedness is outstanding due to their hard work, guidance, and direction. Celeste was also later presented with a bouquet of flowers as a gesture of great appreciation.
The Nimrod variation of Elgar’s Enigma Variations is always an audience favorite, and it also seemed to be a favorite with the LSYO musicians. What a beautiful piece, and a beautiful sound the orchestra produced for all the selections. They gave a fine performance! We have so many talented young musicians in our community, or is it our musical community encouraging such musicianship in our youth? Either way, we have something special.
Continuing, after a slight stage rearrangement, the LSO now began the “Evening of Mozart” with the classic Overture to the Marriage of Figaro. An overture to an opera is played at the very beginning, before the curtain goes up, and is meant to set-the-stage (in music) for the acts that follow. Often, passages heard in the overture return later in the production. This particular overture, however, is a standalone composition. Its melodies aren’t found in the rest of the dramatic acts, but rather, they suggest the overall theme and feeling of the opera. What a great way to begin the opera and our Mozart celebration! This music is anticipatory, joyful, fast, and furious and the LSO performed it brilliantly.
Next was Mozart’s glorious, and sometimes playful, Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, featuring Jessica Stinson, LSO principal second violin as soloist. What great projection! Every nuance in this music could be heard, from the tiniest flutter to perfect double and triple stops. This was Jessica’s debut solo performance, and the audience wants to hear more. Played with richness, warmth and precise technique, she showed us why this is a great concerto.
After intermission came the beloved Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. It includes four great movements played by strings. This is what I think of as classic Mozart, noble, structured, and balanced as it would be for a dance. There is no substitute for hearing it live, though, especially with the LSO in our wonderful, acoustically-rich auditorium. This was a joy to hear.
Last, but not least on this full program, was Symphony No. 25 in G minor, written when Mozart was merely 17 years old. Surprisingly, this was his first symphony in a minor key. Dramatic, stormy, and with sudden changes in tempo, this symphony progresses through four movements. Turning quiet and thoughtful, and then into a minuet movement, it returns with another expressive movement that includes some new syncopation. Precise, as always, the LSO handled this challenge with grace and ease.
If you missed this concert, you missed a gem. There is one more concert in this season and it will be an awesome grand finale. Mark your calendars for April 23rd when the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra will present The Planets, by Gustav Holst in its entirety. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Here are a few more photos from this event.