Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Newark Symphony Orchestra aims high

The Newark Symphony Orchestra played the Double Concerto in E Minor, Opus 88 for clarinet, viola and orchestra with Vincent Marinelli, clarinet and Timothy Schwarz, viola as solosits at the Independence School in Newark on Sunday.  The clarinet and viola exchanged voices easily and their ranges are remarkably complimentary.  Dr. Schwarz and Mr. Marinelli each brought out their solo lines with ease and the result was a wonderfully flowing duo with vivid dynamics and a wide range of tone.  Although the orchestra was sometimes louder than I would have liked, the soloists were heard above the orchestra most of the time, including the beautiful passage in the second movement when Dr. Schwarz’s viola had the top voice of the final cadence.

Maestro Tartaglione has been pushing his orchestra to tackle more and more difficult pieces (as has Dr. Schwarz for the Wilmington Community Orchestra), but this time, the Wagner Ride of the Valkyries was just too much of a challenge for the French horn section, which has worked so hard over the past few years and has had some glorious performances.  But in Sunday’s concert, the Overture to Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber had some horn passages which suffered from tuning issues and insecure attacks, although the orchestra in general had a steady performance with a very strong cello section and a great solo clarinet part played by Michelle Webb.

The other three Wagner preludes came off well.  Laura Grass’s solo entrances on trumpet was beautifully controlled and quite effective in the Rienzi Overture – her quiet entries and well-controlled crescendos deserved applause -  and the horns sounded good as they did in Siegfried’s Rhine Journey.  The Meistersinger Overture was a triumph for trumpet, horn, trombones and tuba, although the drums and percussion resound in the hall at the Independence School, so perhaps they could have brought it down a notch.

The concert was quite moving and having the musicians strive for a higher level of playing has paid off in the vast improvements they have made under Maestro Tartaglione.  But shouldn’t the director include at least one easier piece in every concert?

See www.newarksymphony.org

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