Four Italians and a Russian - surely, melodies of romance and passion were never in better composing hands. Thus convinced, the Redlands Symphony Orchestra programmed its Feb. 11 concert to revel in the lush, long lines of the opera arias that have ripped hearts for almost 200 years.
Two fine singers joined the orchestra, under the baton of an apparently thriving Jon Robertson, to deliver works by Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, Mascagni, and Tchaikovsky for an immensely satisfying concert.
It was the beauty of the music that carried the evening at the Redlands Symphony's concert in the University of Redlands Memorial Chapel, directed by Co Nguyen, the orchestra's assistant conductor.
With Rubinstein's riveting narration, enhanced with music well played and dancers embodying the tale, "L'histoire du Soldat" pulled me into Stravinsky's world and wouldn't let me go until the end.
That wonderful string sound will still be in the orchestra when the woodwinds, brass and percussion come back next month - and those instruments add their own colors to the orchestral palette - but it was a treat to hear strings alone Saturday night.
Timofeeva definitely has it - the Tchaikovsky concerto and what it takes to make seemingly effortless but exciting music. The Tchaikovsky concerto is a challenge to a pianist's technique, but Timofeeva made fast, intricate passages sound as if they were as easy as water flowing downhill - and they were as clear and beautiful as a mountain stream.
Unfamiliar, but not unwelcome, the music performed by the Redlands Symphony Orchestra at its final season concert spewed American ingenuity, brashness, and sense of humor, and affirmed the orchestra’s status as a premiere ensemble in Southern California.
Redlands Symphony Orchestra's audience stood in enthusiastic appreciation of the world premiere of Francisco Castillo's “Rhapsody for Oboe, English Horn, and Orchestra” at the concert last weekend.
The 15-minute piece surely needs to be ensconced in the orchestra's repertoire, although I suspect it may be technically challenging for most oboists, written, as it was, for New York Philharmonic's Principal Oboe Liang Wang, Castillo's former student.
The Redlands community has reason to celebrate: the Redlands Symphony Orchestra has launched into yet another season of music-making its 61st and conductor Jon Robertson is starting his 29th season as the orchestra’s music director.
Robertson conducted the orchestra in the season-opening concert Saturday night and delivered nothing less than everything the audience has come to expect from him over almost three decades music that stirs the mind, the heart and the soul.
Classical music doesn't get any more serious than Symphony No. 2, an intricate exploration of the need for hope and the exaltation of God, from the opening awakening notes to the positively glorious orchestral affirmation at the end. Robertson had said in an earlier interview that Mahler was an acquired taste. Be that so, a house full of listeners acquired the taste at Saturday's concert and was raised to their feet for a lengthy and well-deserved standing ovation.
This was Robertson's event. He programmed the music, he lived the music, and he gathered, with care and passion, 72 instrumentalists, 114 chorus-members, and two soloists to experience this symphony - "symphony," too small a word.
So monumental was the sound from the Redlands Symphony Orchestra at Saturday night's concert that Conductor Jon Robertson's baton flew from his hands, the Memorial Chapel windows shattered, and the roof blew off.
Just kidding about the roof and the windows - although it may have come close - but Robertson did lose his baton during the frenzy of the first part of John Williams' "Star Wars Suite." Neither he nor the jumbo-sized orchestra missed a beat.
This should be short. Last weekend, the Redlands Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Jon Robertson, brought thousands to Beethoven as the orchestra filled Memorial Chapel with elegant, inspired and brilliantly fresh 200-year-old music, performed with technical mastery and joyful artistry. End of story.
Menor's unaffected, quiet approach belied his total mastery of the piano as he played with impeccable technique, whether playing blistering-fast runs or tricky arpeggios, and thoughtful artistry, whether playing agitated octaves or light and mysterious melodies.
In the concerto's second movement, especially, Menor and conductor Jon Robertson seemed to challenge each other to deliver the more sensitive rendering of the music on their respective instruments - Menor's piano and Robertson's orchestra.
The program of works by three great composers, Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn, could have been too much of a good, sound-alike thing, except for the thoughtful order of music, with the joyful, ebullient and irrepressible Symphony No. 4 by Mendelssohn in the last position, leaving the audience refreshed and energized.
Jonah Kim…played the Dvorak concert as if he composed it on the spot from his own heart…Nothing we could have done could show enough appreciation for what he brought to the audience at this amazing moment.
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," (reportedly attributed to Mozart), would have received rave reviews if performed at Memorial Chapel in Redlands by the Redlands Symphony Orchestra as they played their season-opening concert Saturday night.
With more substantial musical fare on the program, the orchestra and violin soloist Gareth Johnson, under the direction of conductor Jon Robertson, blew the socks off an enthusiastic audience.