SPCO plays the Devil’s Trill

This weekend the SPCO had a very nice concert.  So nice, that at least one of my friends that saw it three times.

The concert opened with Rameau’s Suite from Zoroastre, very much a baroque piece.  I am not sure that I have heard any music by Rameau before, but it doesn’t matter because I really liked it.  A few times it seemed like I heard some elements of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in it.  It was interesting that the violins were reduced to four musicians (from six) for each of the first and second violin sections, the violas were their usual four, the cellos were halved to two, and bass also halved to one.  For cello and bass, the principals did not play.

Second up was the very familiar by now (saw it on February 9th and April 6th), Tartini’s Devil’s Trill, arranged for violin solo, piano, and string orchestra.  I have seen this piece earlier this season with Joshua Bell and Dale Baltrop in recital, but without the string orchestra.  As before, this is a great piece and Dale Barltrop once again played it beautifully.  It was hard for me to hear the piano where I was sitting, but the strings were a really nice complement to the solo violin.  As expected (and same as Thursday at Temple Israel as reported by my friends) Dale got a very quick standing ovation from the audience which was well deserved.

After intermission we heard Dvorak’s Serenade in D Minor for Winds, Op. 44.  This was a fun piece that featured winds (no flutes) plus solo cello and solo bass played by the principals.  At the start of the third movement I really enjoyed the parts by Timothy Paradise on clarinet and Kathryn Greenback on oboe.  It was also nice to see Sarah Lewis, Sabina Thatcher, and Michael Christie (Michael was sitting one row in front of me on the aisle) sitting in the audience for it.  Steven Copes lurked in a doorway for about 2 movements.

The final piece of the night was Ligeti’s Concert Romanesc (Romanian Concerto) which took a while to start.  After the stagehands rearranged the seating and stands, the musicians came out and sat, we waited a little while for Michael Christie to take the stage and conduct this final piece.  He left his seat after the Wind Serenade pretty early in the applause, so I am not sure what happened.

The good news is that the wait was well worth it.  This was a fun, lively piece that was fun to hear.  I had heard from my friend who attended the night before that it was good, and my guest that joined me said it was her favorite piece that night.  I hope we hear it again.

-Josh

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