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Dr. Anne L. Viricel
In the News
Concert Review: Symphony Orchestra presents symphonic beauty
The San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra performed Saturday, April 11.
Conductor Frank Fetta had a message from Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy for the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra’s Saturday night concert.
Surely the composer would have been enormously satisfied with the energetic, articulate and grand performance given his work by this fine orchestra. It was pure symphonic beauty, just what a listener at a classical music concert would come to hear. Lovely lifts from the strings, elegant lightness from the entire ensemble just before the first movement shifted into a driving, surging musical illustration of the winds on the Scottish highlands, right in your face.
Brilliant horns did everything right, soft and understated one moment, big and brassy the next. Perky and bright clarinet opened the second movement and closed the third with a marvelous statement with timpani. A bassoon and clarinet duet in the fourth movement marked just one more outstanding moment.
What wasn’t expected in this symphony was student artwork, inspired by the symphony and projected above the orchestra during the performance. The diversity of depictions represented the diversity of interpretations that music elicits. Never distracting, often inspiring, the artwork project made yet another connection between beautifully played symphonic music and a growing audience.
The future for San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra sounds as promising as its present, especially in the hands of Symphonie Jeunesse, the youth ensemble that presented a preconcert program. Conducted by Michelle Tachia, the well-rehearsed, artistically aware and technically careful orchestra performed at a level that puts the young musicians in a position to keep the professional orchestra thriving.
The current orchestra members, including concertmaster Todor Pelev and principal cello Ana Maria Maldonado, already set a very high performance bar. Pelev and Maldonado teamed up to perform Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Violoncello, a seldom-performed intellectual piece, seemingly not meant for easy listening. It demands very high technical mastery of the instruments, a demand met by Pelev and Maldonado and soundly supported by the orchestra.
Complex lines and voice crossings, working an unmelodic first movement, required that the performers play with great clarity. Pelev’s violin, with just the right music in the tone – bright but not edgy – soared above Maldonado’s cello’s more subdued tone in most of the exchanges. With seeming ease, Pelev delivered the very high and very low violin notes with equal warmth and definition. Both performers proved a ready match for the concerto’s challenges. San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra is blessed to have such outstanding musicians in its midst at every concert.
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