Wednesday, October 21, 2009

DSO: Touching the Soul

Violinist Jennifer Koh wowed the audience at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House this past weekend with her performance of Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Opus 14. To watch her play was to watch an intimate, elegant dance; each sound flowed from her caress of the instrument and was accompanied by an expression of deep emotion in her face. The first movement of the piece was trademark Barber: heartfelt and full of yearning. The last movement, Presto in moto perpetuo, gave Koh an opportunity to show her “spark”. Her virtuosic playing was splendid and brought the audience to its feet.

David Amado, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, is a seasoned concert programmer as well as a dynamic leader. During the pre-concert lecture sponsored by the Delaware Humanities Forum, Amado discussed presenting works that may be challenging, yet still accessible for his audiences. Amazingly, the Ives’ Three Places in New England was receiving its DSO debut. This piece, written in 1935, still sounds so fresh to my ears. Ives embraced the sights and sounds around him, weaving them into three quirky, very different movements. Amado encouraged us to laugh during the second movement, which was a comical imitation of a small town marching band.

The theme of “place” was ever-present throughout the evening. Entitled “Dreams of Rivers”, the program gave odes to the Housatonic and Rhine rivers. Mark Mobley, DSO Director of Community Engagement, discussed with Amado his identification with composers and their homes. Amado noted that he placed little importance in composers’ physical roots. A powerful statement, reminding me that music transcends locale; it’s mostly about touching the heart and soul.


by Jessica Graae

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