SACRAMENTO ORCHESTRA, FREEBORN HALL
On Sunday, May 23, 1993 at 8:00 p.m. the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra performed four pieces by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The program included the Festival Overture on the Danish National Anthem, Op. 15, the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 35, the Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48, and the Capriccio Italien, Op. 45. Geoffrey Simon conducted and William Barbini appeared as concertmaster and soloist. Although I was impressed by the whole concert, the second half made a more lasting impression on me.
The concert opened with the Festival Overture. This piece began quietly. As the string instruments plucked in unison, the brass instruments entered with a slow melody. The mood became more dramatic as it progressed. The pace became faster and the texture more intense with fugue-like entrances. The different instruments succeeded one another until they ultimately all entered in unison. The trumpets were the most prominent players in the overture, effectively supported by the continuous beating of the drums and clanging of the cymbals. The trumpets were soon replaced by the strings, while the brass instruments receded to the background, quickly leading to the climax in the final section of the piece.
The second work of the evening was the Concerto, which began with a striking solo violin melody, which set a lighthearted tone to the piece. Very quickly, however, the orchestra, and in particular the lyrical strings and pizzicato cellos, entered and provided a firm layer of support. Barbini's solo, contrasted well with the orchestra, and culminated in a sustained high-pitched ethereal sound, suggesting an other-worldly character. The climax of the first movement occurred when the trumpets played a forceful hammering motive which punctuated the beautiful main theme in the violin. This was one of the most inspiring and moving passages of the entire concert. It occurred to me that it had almost a...
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