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Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra closes season with evening of beautiful music

May 1, 2010

The final program of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra's 2009-10 season featured three works with a truly American connection. Performed under the baton of Brian Groner, it was truly an evening of beautiful music.

The program opened with a dazzling performance of Leonard Bernstein's brilliant Overture to "Candide." From its opening fanfare to its final "stinger" the piece generates nonstop energy and musical excitement. John Corigliano's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra "Red Violin" followed next. Scored in four movements, it is an excellent musical composition, and an appreciable concert piece as well.

Part of the concerto originally appeared in the film of the same name, also scored by Corigliano. Though the work still possesses elements of the "sound" of film music, it cannot, in the least, be considered "poppish" or even a concerto-like exercise, but rather a concerto of substantial merit and technical demands.

The anchor of the concerto is with the opening chaconne. This multi-layered, multi-tempo movement provides a broad spectrum of emotions from airy and fragile to strong and passionate. It provides the foundation upon which the remainder of the concerto rests.

Violinist Philippe Quint was most at home with his interpretation of this concerto. I was most taken with his intensely brilliant, yet beautifully sonorous high notes. The orchestra handled the score with confidence. Upon first view, audience members could not be help notice the size of the augmented percussion section. Each instrument had its own personal statement to add to the color pallet Corigliano used for his orchestration.

It quickly became quite evident that "red" was not the only color on that pallet. While there were some sections thinly scored, others demanded the full forces of all the musicians assembled on stage. Much like the solo part, the orchestral accompaniment ran the full gamut of sound and emotions as well as technical demands.

For an encore, Quint played an amazing spectacle of technical brilliance, taken from "somewhere in the film."

The concert closed with a stunning performance of Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World." Known for its beautiful melodies, splendid harmonies, and formal design, it is a piece that never ceases to evoke the meaning of what is truly American music, even though penned by the hand of a Czech composer.

By James Chaudoir

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