Refined! Did not disappoint!
A grand finale concert brings with it an expectation of “that little something extra,” which can’t easily be described. Tuesday’s concert of Holst’s The Planets, by the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, was special in that sense. The way I would attempt to illustrate this indescribable “something extra”, comes actually from the audience. This diverse combination of students, families, out-of-town guests, first-timers, and seasoned classical enthusiasts had their entire attention on what the stage was producing. Not just listening, but immersed in each moment. When you have around 500 people in one room, and you can audibly experience silence when the music uses it, or the whisper of the faintest pianissimo or pianisissimo, that’s extraordinary. This music held your attention that way, suspending it in space.
The Planets symphony, is often presented in separated parts, but here, was presented in its entirety. Along with keeping this concert true in context to how Holst intended it to be performed, care was taken in many aspects of its interpretation. The responsibility is a huge undertaking. Being an early 20th century composition, we have more insight into this seven-movement suite, than a manuscript from the 1700’s, but it’s still a mind-boggling challenge. Requiring an astounding number of musicians, and unfamiliar instruments added to the demanding nature of this symphony.
As an over-view, you would think that The Planets would be presented in order from the sun, but that is not the case. Holst was more concerned with musical balance and so he put the dynamics of the movements, as a whole, in the order that made sense for a performance.
The LSO, under the masterful direction of Dr. Richard Prior, interpreted this music beautifully. From the public pre-concert comments, the anticipation of the musicians in performing this music was just as high as the anticipation of the patrons waiting to hear it. With almost eighty musicians on stage, the compiled focus on the music was breathtaking. The result, too, was well-deserving of their standing ovation. Well done, LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. Bravo.
Each year seems to bring an enhanced level to the LSO performances. This next season begins the Anniversary celebration of having completed 30 years of musical excellence in our community, and we are all looking forward to its announcement. Expectations are high and inquiries about season tickets have already begun. If you are not familiar with the process, season tickets are a pre-season offer of a guaranteed seat at every concert and at a great savings. Season tickets are expected to go on sale in early summer and are only offered for a specified period of time. After that, you must wait until the next season to take advantage of the season ticket offer.
Here is a slideshow of some of the beautiful people who attended.