Boca Raton Symphonia concert highlights talented instrumentalists
By David Fleshler, South Florida Sun Sentinel
April 7, 2008
The Boca Raton Symphonia ended its third concert season Sunday with an exciting performance at the Saint Andrew's School that showed the orchestra continuing build on its considerable strengths.
The violin section, once suffering from intonation and ensemble problems, played with tight precision and a rich sound. The conductor was another in the orchestra's long line of young, talented, enthusiastic guest conductors. And the program combined the familiar with the unusual, for a thoroughly successful concert.
The highlight was a fine performance of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, a double concerto for violin and viola that shows the composer at his most joyous and his most grave. Stepping out of the orchestra to perform the solo parts were the orchestra's concertmaster, Misha Vitenson, and principal viola, Michael Klotz.
Both are clearly masters of their instruments. While the work does not require virtuoso technique, it demands clean playing of rapid passages and the ability to shape a long phrase, and the two soloists provided both. The performance was high-spirited but with an underlying seriousness that perfectly matched the music.
The guest conductor, Laura Jackson, recently assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, led the ensemble with a natural flowing style. In Schubert's Symphony No 5, which straddles the classical and romantic eras, she brought out the work's power with a delicacy that maintained its essential lightness and grace. A highlight was the powerful, tightly-wrought performance of the work's energetic third movement.
The concert opened with Milhaud's La création du monde, a 1923 work that draws on New Orleans jazz. The piece sometimes sounded like raucous, uncivilized Gershwin, and Jackson led the orchestra with rhythmically spirited style that allowed the clarinet, saxophone and other soloists the freedom to bring out the work's improvisatory feel.
The three-year-old orchestra sounds better than ever. In addition to the on-target string playing, winds and brass played with a good balance and an almost perfect absence of technical errors. The orchestra has a loyal, enthusiastic audience. With its new principal conductor, Alexander Platt, who started this season, next year season should be even better.
David Fleshler can be reached at email@example.com or 954-356-4535.
© 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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