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Entirely not Mozart, entirely badass

All-star symphonic performance neatly frames the master

Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto - Image by Peter Schaaf
Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto

What would happen if you brought an orchestra together which was comprised of principal players from a slew of different organizations such as The LA Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, and, of course, the San Diego Symphony?

You could have, maybe, eight concertmasters in the violin section. The rest of the strings could be filled out with first chairs from the other orchestras.

The woodwinds and brass would almost all be principal players as well.

Wouldn't that be amazing? In reality, it is amazing and it is the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra.

I caught their concert at the Balboa Theater on June 18 and it was — how shall I say this? Badass.

The concert was programmed and conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto. The program neatly framed Mozart with Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert but didn’t actually include Mozart. However, I wasn’t complaining because — remember? — badass performance.

What do I mean by badass?

If there were ever a West-Side-Story-esque-a-la-Anchorman-news-fight orchestra death match, this group would cut you and maybe choke you out, in a very musical and artistic way. You might even thank them afterwards.

During Schubert’s Symphony No. 2 I thought the violin section might “bow” their own faces off with their nonstop bobbing and weaving. That is badass — it’s a good thing. Nay, it’s a great thing.

The musicians I could see, primarily the string players, appeared to be having the time of their lives performing together. They communicated to each other with a series of knowing looks, head bobs, and smiles? Yes, smiles and their smiles made me smile.

The concert started with Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 and was followed by Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.

There are several famous openings in Beethoven’s music: the first heartbeats of Romanticism in the Third Symphony, the forceful interruption of the Fifth Symphony, and the mournful arpeggios of the Moonlight Sonata, but my favorite start in any of Beethoven’s music is the piano’s statement in the Fourth Piano Concerto.

The soloist Jorge Federico Osorio got off to a slow start but by the first movement cadenza he was in the flow. His lamentation in the 2nd movement was gorgeous while the strings, presumably, preached to him about the underworld.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 2 concluded the concert. I can’t say how thrilled I was to hear this music. We get lots of Schubert’s 8th and 9th symphonies, a little bit of the 5th, but the 2nd? Never.

The music bookended the concert beautifully with Haydn’s 102 as Schubert emulated Haydn’s slow opening followed by an energetic first movement.

There was an air of triumph around the Maestro Prieto as he led the all-star orchestra through the evening. He concluded each piece with a flourish of energy worthy of a prize fighter. In the aforementioned West Side Story orchestra brawl, he would be Tony, for sure.

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Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto - Image by Peter Schaaf
Maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto

What would happen if you brought an orchestra together which was comprised of principal players from a slew of different organizations such as The LA Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, and, of course, the San Diego Symphony?

You could have, maybe, eight concertmasters in the violin section. The rest of the strings could be filled out with first chairs from the other orchestras.

The woodwinds and brass would almost all be principal players as well.

Wouldn't that be amazing? In reality, it is amazing and it is the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra.

I caught their concert at the Balboa Theater on June 18 and it was — how shall I say this? Badass.

The concert was programmed and conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto. The program neatly framed Mozart with Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert but didn’t actually include Mozart. However, I wasn’t complaining because — remember? — badass performance.

What do I mean by badass?

If there were ever a West-Side-Story-esque-a-la-Anchorman-news-fight orchestra death match, this group would cut you and maybe choke you out, in a very musical and artistic way. You might even thank them afterwards.

During Schubert’s Symphony No. 2 I thought the violin section might “bow” their own faces off with their nonstop bobbing and weaving. That is badass — it’s a good thing. Nay, it’s a great thing.

The musicians I could see, primarily the string players, appeared to be having the time of their lives performing together. They communicated to each other with a series of knowing looks, head bobs, and smiles? Yes, smiles and their smiles made me smile.

The concert started with Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 and was followed by Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.

There are several famous openings in Beethoven’s music: the first heartbeats of Romanticism in the Third Symphony, the forceful interruption of the Fifth Symphony, and the mournful arpeggios of the Moonlight Sonata, but my favorite start in any of Beethoven’s music is the piano’s statement in the Fourth Piano Concerto.

The soloist Jorge Federico Osorio got off to a slow start but by the first movement cadenza he was in the flow. His lamentation in the 2nd movement was gorgeous while the strings, presumably, preached to him about the underworld.

Schubert’s Symphony No. 2 concluded the concert. I can’t say how thrilled I was to hear this music. We get lots of Schubert’s 8th and 9th symphonies, a little bit of the 5th, but the 2nd? Never.

The music bookended the concert beautifully with Haydn’s 102 as Schubert emulated Haydn’s slow opening followed by an energetic first movement.

There was an air of triumph around the Maestro Prieto as he led the all-star orchestra through the evening. He concluded each piece with a flourish of energy worthy of a prize fighter. In the aforementioned West Side Story orchestra brawl, he would be Tony, for sure.

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Comments
2

This is the best review of a classical show I've read in a long time. Well done, Garrett. I'll be writing a little about this on my site, ClassicalDarkArts.com, in the coming days. --Will Roseliep

June 25, 2014

Will, I love your site. I'm going to pick up a copy of The Libertine's Guide to the Classical Music Revolution.

July 7, 2014

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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