The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra served up a heart-warming “CLASSICS” concert with two works by Beethoven and the wonderfully famous Piano Concerto by Edvard Grieg. This was a rare opportunity to hear Beethoven’s Overture to the Creatures of Prometheus and Symphony No. 1, which are both great pieces that are often undervalued for live performances.
First on the menu was the Prometheus Overture that was both full and delicately flavored. This is not a very long piece, but it has great variance and juxtaposed passages that amazingly translate into a strong, confident, melodious work. There was nothing timid about it, and the LSO excelled at its vigorous changes in energy.
Miss Yannie Tan was guest pianist, performing with the LSO, for Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. Grieg was only 26 years old when he composed it. Yannie performed it at 16 years old, and did it brilliantly, blending well with the orchestra. The Allegro is the most famous section and the audience loved it so much they forgot to check the program to see there was more to come. In their defense, this happens all the time with this Grieg Concerto since the ending of the first movement is so dramatic, it sounds quite final.
Although young, Yannie is already a well-seasoned musician. In fact, watching her play, it was obvious that she felt every note, not only in her delicate hands, but in her heart. The second movement of the piece was dreamy and moved into the powerful third with its fantastic ending and its terrific last bite – a real treat.
After the intermission, Dr. Prior spoke about Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 and described it as a sort of bridge between Haydn and Mozart, two of Beethoven’s influential predecessors. It was written in 1801 the same year as the Prometheus Overture. Beethoven was 29. What a way to begin the new century.
Performing all four movements, the LSO brought excellence to the table in this piece. Beginning like the dawn of a new era, the first two movements emerge and build into the third and fourth. Perhaps because of the autumn season the third and fourth movements were personal favorites as the rhythms and runs gave the imagery of Fall. The Menuetto had wonderful twists and turns like leaves fluttering in the wind and the Adagio included cascading scales, perfect for this Fall feast of music.
This was a wonderful evening of classics. Miss Tan is an artist to watch as we hope to hear more great things from this fine young musician, especially with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. Taking this opportunity for appreciation of Dr. Prior and the LSO musicians – for you, we are expressly thankful!
Here is a slideshow of an impromptu photo-op to which Miss Tan graciously obliged: (note: Yannie is also pictured in this slideshow with her Father and Mother)