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In the thick of it with Edward Elgar

Mainly Mozart grants a musical wish

The Mainly Mozart strings more than handled the technical elements of Elgar’s music.
The Mainly Mozart strings more than handled the technical elements of Elgar’s music.

The September version of The San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival concluded with two spectacular concerts on Friday, September 17, and Saturday, September 18. At the final concert, Mainly Mozart CEO Nancy Laturno confirmed that the Festival Orchestra will be back this coming June.

Video:

Schumann - Concertpiece for Four Horns and Orchestra

The Thursday night concert was a sleeper on paper. The repertoire was Robert Schumann’s Concerto for Four Horns, Edward Elgars Introduction and Allegro for Strings, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 “Haffner.” The Schumann and the Elgar are relatively unknown, and yet they are phenomenal pieces of music.

The four horn soloists were a formidable quartet. The players were Andrew Bain, principal horn at The LA Philharmonic, Kaylet Torrez, assistant principal horn at The Pacific Symphony, Jenna Breem of The Seattle Symphony, and Gregory Roosa, second horn at The LA Philharmonic. Schumann’s music is all romance all the time. The performance of the soloist and orchestra conveyed a sense of heroism, a sense of pathos, and ultimately, a sense of optimism. I found myself hoping to hear this piece performed inside the concert hall. I can only imagine how impressive four horn solos would be in a concert hall setting.

Video:

Elgar - Introduction and Allegro

Elgar’s Allegro and Introduction for Strings is my favorite piece of music that I’ve never heard performed live. I have longed to hear The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra strings perform this piece. Sometimes wishes do come true. I’ve lived with this piece of music for almost 30 years but only via recordings. A massive gap in my concert-going life has been filled.  This Elgar piece is dense. It is thick. It is a full-bodied piece of string music. The Mainly Mozart strings more than handled the technical elements of Elgar’s music and turned in a glowing account.

Of all of Mozart’s symphonies, I think I‘ve heard the “Haffner” more than any other. However, I’ll never complain about hearing this music in concert.

The final night’s concert featured half a dozen pieces of instrumental music from the operatic repertoire. Several of the orchestra members were featured as soloists. New York Philharmonic principal flute, Alison Fierst, played a gorgeous solo during Christoph Gluck’s “Dance of the Sacred Spirits” from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice. Boris Allakhverdyan, principal clarinet of the LA Philharmonic, played the Concertino for Clarinet by Carl Maria von Weber, and Scott Pringle, principal bass of The San Francisco Symphony, played Giovanni Bottesini’s Elegy No. 1.

Video:

William Tell Overture

Jules Massanet’s Meditation from Thaïs was on the program. Conductor David Chan played the ravishing solo violin part from the conductor’s stand. Maestro Chan also happens to be the concertmaster of The Metropolitan Opera. The concert concluded with a rambunctious rendition of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. The performance confirmed the preeminence of the players in The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra.

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The Mainly Mozart strings more than handled the technical elements of Elgar’s music.
The Mainly Mozart strings more than handled the technical elements of Elgar’s music.

The September version of The San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival concluded with two spectacular concerts on Friday, September 17, and Saturday, September 18. At the final concert, Mainly Mozart CEO Nancy Laturno confirmed that the Festival Orchestra will be back this coming June.

Video:

Schumann - Concertpiece for Four Horns and Orchestra

The Thursday night concert was a sleeper on paper. The repertoire was Robert Schumann’s Concerto for Four Horns, Edward Elgars Introduction and Allegro for Strings, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 “Haffner.” The Schumann and the Elgar are relatively unknown, and yet they are phenomenal pieces of music.

The four horn soloists were a formidable quartet. The players were Andrew Bain, principal horn at The LA Philharmonic, Kaylet Torrez, assistant principal horn at The Pacific Symphony, Jenna Breem of The Seattle Symphony, and Gregory Roosa, second horn at The LA Philharmonic. Schumann’s music is all romance all the time. The performance of the soloist and orchestra conveyed a sense of heroism, a sense of pathos, and ultimately, a sense of optimism. I found myself hoping to hear this piece performed inside the concert hall. I can only imagine how impressive four horn solos would be in a concert hall setting.

Video:

Elgar - Introduction and Allegro

Elgar’s Allegro and Introduction for Strings is my favorite piece of music that I’ve never heard performed live. I have longed to hear The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra strings perform this piece. Sometimes wishes do come true. I’ve lived with this piece of music for almost 30 years but only via recordings. A massive gap in my concert-going life has been filled.  This Elgar piece is dense. It is thick. It is a full-bodied piece of string music. The Mainly Mozart strings more than handled the technical elements of Elgar’s music and turned in a glowing account.

Of all of Mozart’s symphonies, I think I‘ve heard the “Haffner” more than any other. However, I’ll never complain about hearing this music in concert.

The final night’s concert featured half a dozen pieces of instrumental music from the operatic repertoire. Several of the orchestra members were featured as soloists. New York Philharmonic principal flute, Alison Fierst, played a gorgeous solo during Christoph Gluck’s “Dance of the Sacred Spirits” from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice. Boris Allakhverdyan, principal clarinet of the LA Philharmonic, played the Concertino for Clarinet by Carl Maria von Weber, and Scott Pringle, principal bass of The San Francisco Symphony, played Giovanni Bottesini’s Elegy No. 1.

Video:

William Tell Overture

Jules Massanet’s Meditation from Thaïs was on the program. Conductor David Chan played the ravishing solo violin part from the conductor’s stand. Maestro Chan also happens to be the concertmaster of The Metropolitan Opera. The concert concluded with a rambunctious rendition of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. The performance confirmed the preeminence of the players in The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra.

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