Home Sweet Home
Tuesday’s “Sounds of Home” concert 4/26/22 by the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra proved that they are back – in a big way! Performing pieces from Key, Elgar, Gershwin, and Dvorak, the audience was captivated. The sweet sounds of home were followed by some pretty sweet compliments:
“Inspirational” “Music was amazing and filled my soul” “A rousing end to a challenging season. It was wonderful” “Loved every minute”
These glowing reviews are just a small sampling of the many positive comments heard after the LSO’s final concert of the season. While it was the finale for the 2021-22 season, it was also the first concert back home at Callaway Auditorium in over two years. Both spring concerts of 2020 had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, so the last concert at Callaway Auditorium was actually December 10th 2019, “Sounds of Peace“.
Welcome from the President
The evening began with words of welcome by LSO president, Jeff Higgins. His comments included recognition of several individuals that were in the audience and he thanked them for their dedication to the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. His concise message made it clear how grateful everyone was to be back in Callaway Auditorium, the Home of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra!
Opening the concert
It has become a tradition to open each season with our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key. Although this was the last concert of the season, it was the first full-orchestra concert and the re-opening of the LSO’s presence at Callaway.
An additional piece
The beautiful Elgar Enigma Variation No. 9, “Nimrod” was added to the program. The Enigma Variations were written in 1899. This particular variation was written for one of Elgar’s friends who helped the composer through several dark periods in his life. Maestro Richard Prior introduced the piece and offered this moving composition as a musical prayer. This variation is solemn, reflective and appropriate considering the past two years of the pandemic as well as the current dark times of war in Ukraine. It was performed skillfully and with great gentleness. The wonderful serene swells of emotion were beautifully played and effective in touching the hearts of the audience.
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
The Maestro then introduced the evenings guest artist, William Ransom, to which the audience gave a hearty welcoming round of applause.
It was obvious from beginning to end, that Mr. Ransom enjoyed every minute of the performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. You could hear his vibrancy flow through the music. Rhapsody in Blue has a number of themes that are quite different from each other, but all blend smoothly into one cohesive idea. The blend of the piano and orchestra also was on-point. The initial clarinet reach to the moon was brilliant. Those iconic first notes can identify the entire song. The piano though, is the soul of the composition, and William Ransom ran with it. It was mesmerizing to experience the technical prowess required, and witness the joy and energy Mr. Ransom brought to this piece. The audience loved it and they loved him. There was a blast of applause and an immediate standing ovation. If you weren’t there… you should have been.
New World Symphony
After a stage reset, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra continued the sounds of Home concert with Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The background information offered in the blog posts on the LSO website, and the Maestro’s introduction, strengthened the appreciation of this piece. New World Symphony is a “visitor’s” personal journey through the USA’s vastly different landscapes and melting-pot of cultures. What a fresh perspective! We take for granted just how majestic our country really is, but Dvorak’s fresh-eyed descriptions come through his music. New World Symphony is poetic and illustrative – no words necessary.
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra delivered this epic piece with all the grandeur it deserves. The power and dynamic range required was phenomenal, and the LSO succeeded at every turn. It was vividly precise. The sound quality and delicate blending was a true joy to experience. The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra interpreted all of Dvorak’s quiet thoughts and majestic exclamations with virtuosity. Bravo.
What a wonderful concert! Looking forward to seeing everyone this fall and the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s new 2022/23 season.
Thank you for supporting the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra!