How great it was to be back in the concert hall with the Louisville Orchestra. This evening’s performance was extraordinary. Jorge Mester and the Orchestra were on fire!
This was the first concert of the 2012-2013 concert series and was dedicated to Robert Whitney and the musicians of the first season of the Louisville Orchestra, 1937-1938.
The program began with music of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. We heard Three Dances from the opera The Bartered Bride. This was Smetana’s second opera – an opera in which he was determined to create a truly Czech operatic genre – and he did exactly that! This opera made a major contribution towards the development of Czech music.
I must say that the Orchestra was phenomenal. The dances were happy and rhythmic. The ensemble was very tight. Maestro Mester and the Orchestra actually created the aura of being at a wedding celebration!
The next work of the evening was the Cello Concert No. 1 in A Minor by French composer Camille Saint-Saens, featuring cellist Peter McCaffrey. The piece is structured in one continuous movement with three distinct sections. I thought it interesting to note that many composers, including Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, considered this concerto to be the greatest of all cello concertos!
This piece was well executed by both the soloist and the orchestra. The fast and furious sections were played very cleanly. The slow and lyrical sections were heart rendering. There was an added delight at the end of this concerto. Soloist Peter McCaffrey played an encore, the Sarabande from the Bach Cello Suite in D minor. This encore was so beautiful that there was dead silence in the audience with a burst of applause at the end.
The last work of the evening was the Symphony No. 7 in D Minor by Antonin Dvorak, his most accomplished orchestral work. This piece was actually the icing on the evening’s cake. In contrast to the light and buoyant playing of the Dances from The Bartered Bride, this symphony featured the lush and dramatic sound of the Orchestra. From the beautiful woodwind choir at the beginning to the full, big brass sound and the powerful passionate strings – this Orchestra had it all.
It was a memorable evening. Bravo and welcome back!
Tim & Dair Mathistad
Katie & Chris Haulter
Kathy Todd Chaney
Angie Reed Garner