[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
It was a chilly, rainy night on April 24. There were tornado watches in the area.
But there was also a wonderful Jewish Community Center Orchestra concert that night, “That’s Italian.” The musicians presented a solid program of music not necessarily written by Italians, but exploring Italian themes. It’s a shame that they were playing to so many empty seats.
The first half started with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, op. 72a. It’s dulcet opening notes hinted at the romanticism associated with Italy. The piccolo and trumpet each had short but shining solos.
Gabriel Fauré’s signature constant subtle key changes made his Pavane the most challenging piece of the evening. The beautifully crafted motifs passed easily from instrument to instrument, but sometimes its difficulty was evident.
The pulsating rhythms of Guiseppe Verdi’s La Forza del Destino quickly drew the audience in, and it was evident that the orchestra enjoyed this piece as they played with enthusiasm and confidence.
The second half was given over to Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, op. 90, “The Italian,” and it was truly the highlight of the evening. From beginning to end, through all four movements, the orchestra infused this piece with color and feeling.
I’m glad the weather didn’t keep me away.