Bracelets worn last night in support of our Detroit Symphony colleagues.

Last night was the first night of our latest classical subscription program (repeats on Monday night). Rather than give a blow-by-blow, I’ll give my shout-outs for my heroes of the evening.

Baiba Skride, our violin soloist, played the holy bejesus out of the Khatchaturian Violin Concerto. She is just an incredible violin playing machine, but with huge heart as well. She just gave an amazingly wild, yet controlled, performance from beginning to end. Principal bassoon Carin Miller played her solo at the opening of the second movement with a great, singing sound.

Our Associate principal hornist Joseph Berger did some amazing high-wire horn playing in Haydn’s Symphony No. 39 – total control, perfectly in tune, and not a bobble even hinted at – a virtuoso performance.

In Debussy’s La Mer there were many great contributions. Concertmaster Jun Iwasaki had perfectly executed solos throughout. Acting principal flute Alicia DiDonato Paulsen was on fire all night – her solos in the Debussy were gorgeous. English Hornist Kyle Mustain was incredible as well. Trumpeter Micah Wilkinson played his very difficult and treacherous solo with grace. Principal cellist Nancy Ives played her extended solo beautifully, and the entire cello section played the famous section solo to perfection. Finally, our amazing brass section contributed some awesome climaxes and sounded truly world-class.

I’m sure I missed some highlights – if you’ve got some hollas of your own, just add them in the comment thread!

5 Replies to “all-stars”

  1. Outstanding performances are becoming the norm at the Oregon Symphony. What can I say about this season: we’ve had one superb soloist after another, unfamiliar repertoire that has given concerts a sense of freshness and discovery, and just flat out fine playing from all sections. Last night’s performance of La Mer demonstrates just how far this orchestra has come in recent seasons. I don’t remember very well the last time La Mer was played in 2005 ( I think), but I am certain it did not have the powerful impact of last night’s performance. As you noted, seemingly everyone in the orchestra had a great evening. The orchestra certainly looks more than ready for Carnegie Hall.

    1. I absolutely agree with Curtis. The orchestra is absolutely killing it (yes that’s a technical term). I hate to admit but after moving to Portland 1994 I often passed on comp/discounted tickets during the late Jimmy/early Carlos years. Perhaps it was the programming (I’m not a warhorse fan) but at the time I simply felt I had better things to do.

      Now I’m trying to get into the Schnitz every chance I get. I absolutely enjoyed the Sat morning patron rehearsal, came back for the evening concert and bought a ticket for Monday earlier today… yeah – the OSO is sounding that good.

      Now that the Old Spice audience issue has been addressed – can something be done about clapping between movements?!?

      1. Dan, I’m not crazy about between-movement clapping, either, but I must admit that clapping prematurely at the end of a piece bothers me more. Sometimes I get the impression that many audience members are not aware of how many movements there are in a concerto or symphony, or perhaps they are just not attuned to current concert etiquette. I’m not sure, however, that I would like Elaine Calder telling the audience to hold their applause. I am envious that you are going to Monday night’s concert. I wish I could do the same.

  2. The stellar playing of the symphony makes me not want to miss a concert even though I only have a half season. Yes, the horn was fabulous in the Haydn–playing up in the stratosphere, a sort of inverted mordent figure, flawlessly. The violin soloist and the orchestra played the very difficult Khachaturian concerto perfectly in sync with each other. The Haydn, under Kalmar’s baton, was a gem–such sensitive playing, but so precise. I must admit I hadn’t read the program notes ahead and wondered why the orchestra took that big pause at the beginning–so I fished out my program and read it by stagelight to get the scoop! How clever of Franz Josef, to fool us that way!

    Ward Nelson

    1. Thanks for commenting, Ward. And thanks for being a subscriber! Half a season is a great commitment to the orchestra. In the Haydn, there was indeed a very lengthy pause – and it was much longer than the composer intended! There was a cell phone that was ringing somewhere in the hall, and Carlos heard it and had us wait it out. Once it was stifled, he had us go back to the top of the movement and do the pauses (one bar each) as Papa Haydn intended!

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