Friday, March 05, 2021

Minnesota Orchestra produces another fine evening of classical music

 Friday evening. Here I am in my seat at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Oh, wait. That’s a wispy memory. But I am fortunate to be able to “attend” another Friday evening concert by members of this excellent musical aggregation. I am also fortunate that my TV sound runs through an old-fashioned sound system with 15-inch base speakers and high grade mid-range and top level speakers, making it almost as if I was in the hall.

Two beginning pieces by J. Montgomery, very contemporary, “Voodoo Dolls.” And “Source Code.” The program is hosted by the excellent Sara Hicks.

And now a full orchestra backs solo violinist James Ehnes and Sergei Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto.

Liquid highs from the soloist blend with careful mid and lower-range strings. Solo flute adds crisp accents.  And foot-stomping applause from the orchestra. Regretfully I was unable to absorb the name of the guest conductor who was excellent.

The interim presented an intriguing if brief examination of score pagination and modern e-pad uses.

Mendelsohn’s 4th Symphony, The Italian, is the final piece of the evening. Not having the kind of current musical history one should have for any kind of critical analysis, let me just say the entire concert was a symphonic musical treat, lyrical well-connected, and offered by an outstanding orchestra, perfectly staged and visually positive in spite of the necessary presence of masks on many of the players. As usual, a most enjoyable concert evening.

Friday, January 15, 2021



Music Director Osmo Vänskä returns to the podium conducting Principal Bassoon Fei Xie’s Minnesota Orchestra solo debut with Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto. The concert will feature Saint-Georges’ dazzling Symphony No. 1 and more.

Once again access to the orchestra concert in these parlous times somehow brings not just joy but a sense of peace and calm. It was a wonderful concert and the bassoonist's solo was outstanding.