“A truly Grand Finale!”
The LSO April concert, PASSION & POWER, was appropriately named. Performed with intense feeling and strength, this concert was indeed a GRAND finale for the 2015-16 season.
Once again, the pre-concert lecture presented by Dr. Beth Everett, which is a free perk with your ticket, was both informative and enlightening. Since our guest artist is a bassoonist, Dr. Everett highlighted the bassoon and told us how the instrument has mechanically evolved through the ages. Chandler Stuart, LaGrange Symphony Orchestra bassoon principle, gave a very informative impromptu presentation of the instrument. His first-hand knowledge and up-close demonstration really enhanced the lecture and promoted a greater appreciation for the instrument.
The concert began with Brahms: Academic Festival Overture. This piece celebrates knowledge as a passionate pursuit. In contrast to what you might expect, Brahms, in 1881, called it a “rollicking potpourri of student songs.” Now, in 2016, it requires a slightly different description. The overture was very dynamic and a joy to hear. It was uplifting, strong and done as a splendid tribute to LaGrange College and academia.
Next was Mozart: Bassoon Concerto in B-flat major. This piece featured bassoonist Traian Sturza, winner of the Dorothy Allen Turner award. Played with fluid and expressive talent, this piece mesmerized the audience. The extreme breath control and stamina required to perform this piece with three movements was phenomenal.
After an intermission, Dr. Prior took the opportunity to thank the board of the LSO and President Gary Mayer for an exceptionally smooth transition into his first year as Maestro here in LaGrange. He also expressed his appreciation to the wonderful musicians with whom he said there is a mutual trust and investment.
The final piece was Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in f minor. It began slowly and introduced a central, rather somber theme of “fate.” From there the piece transformed through four movements to reveal that happiness can be found and new energy can emerge from even the darkest times. The ending was delightfully bold with what Dr. Everett had described as, far from bashful timpani. Like a spectacular firework finale, this Tchaikovsky piece summed up the entire season and provided the splendid final cadence it deserved. Spirited and continued applause with numerous Bravo’s and shouts of approval endorsed that this has been a monumental year.
The festivities continued with a terrific reception at the Chamber of Commerce. Smiles, laughter and great food were plentiful. There was a large turnout and Traian Sturza was presented with his first place award by Callie Hammond, LSO Assistant Concertmaster.
Callie is the granddaughter of Dorothy Allen Turner, for whom the award is named. The family has sponsored the Young Artists Competition’s first place prize in memory of Mrs. Turner for 20 years. Here are a few photos.
Lots of questions about next season were asked. The dates of the 2016/17 concerts were published in the program, but no other information is being announced. You can be sure that something of great significance is slated of which you will want to be a part. Remember, Season Ticket Holders will be the first to hear the news!
Thank you for supporting the arts in LaGrange, and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.