Classical Music

…But the Chopin Was Amazing!

Last weekend I enjoyed a great performance of Brahms’ 4th Symphony with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  This weekend, I was treated to a great performance of Brahms’ 3rd Symphony by the Westerville Symphony Orchestra. I’m still looking for a performance of Brahms’ 2nd for this next weekend to continue my Brahms symphonic trend!

Playing at the Fritsche Theatre in Cowan Hall at Otterbein University, the Westerville Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson, performed its first Masterworks concert of the 2013-2014 season. On the program were two terrific pieces of music:

Brahms, Symphony No. 3 in F Major, op. 90
Chopin, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, op. 11- featuring Nick Ross on the piano

The Brahms was wonderful.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the Chopin…was amazing!

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Jennifer Hambrick from WOSA, Classical 101, came out before the concert started to tell us a little bit about the music we were about to hear.  While talking about the Brahms, she challenged us to tap our feet during the first movement to see how well we could keep up since Brahms got a little bit creative there with his time signatures.

I kept up ok for a while but then gave up because listening to the music was infinitely more fun than concentrating on my foot tapping.  It was a bit of a challenge, keeping those threes in line. As an audience member though, I was happy to leave the work to the musicians on stage!

I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard Brahms’ 3rd symphony before and I have none of his symphonies in my music library, so I didn’t yet know what to expect.  That said, I noticed the 3rd movement sounded somewhat familiar, so I’ve probably heard that on the radio.  The 4th movement was especially enjoyable.

I liked it all, it was very well-played, but the 4th movement definitely stands out as my favorite!

And then they played Chopin

Saturday’s program included one of Chopin’s two piano concerti: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Opus 11, masterfully played by pianist and Otterbein Professor, Dr. Nicholas Ross.  Like the Brahms, I hadn’t heard this piece before either, but it – was – magnificent!

Wow.  Dr. Ross was so good!

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Seriously.  Wow.

He played so well, can you imagine what an inspiration that performance was to his students? I wonder if someone recorded it because I would love to hear it again.

OK, I could continue gushing about Saturday’s performance – especially of the Chopin – but I think that at this stage, you know I think! Suffice to say, this performance of the Chopin totally made up for my disappointment with last week’s soloist for the Rachmaninoff.

Like the rest of the audience, I was immediately on my feet upon completion of the Rondo – Vivace moment.  After a couple of curtain calls, Dr. Ross came back and treated us to an encore.  No idea what it was, but it sure sounded good!

Well done, Westerville Symphony!  Well done!

The Westerville Symphony’s next Masterworks concert will be after the New Year on March 29 back up at Otterbein.  They’ll be playing Jon Deak’s Condominiums on the Hot Stove (Home on the Range!) as well as…

•  Mendelssohn, Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op.21
•  Haydn, Symphony No. 94 in G Major (“Surprise”)
•  Prokofiev, Suite from Lieutenant Kijé, Op. 60

If you’d like to see them sooner, you’re in luck!  They have a concert, Sounds of the Season, on Saturday, December 14. Hard to believe that’s less than two months away! 

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