O. C. O. plays “a Farewell Symphony” Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
reviewer_JudithIn their final concert of the 2012/2013 season the Oakville Chamber Orchestra played a Violin Concerto and an Orchestral Suite by Bach as well as the Farewell Symphony of Joseph Haydn.  This does not mean ‘farewell’ to the Orchestra, thank goodness, as they also announced their concert line up for the 2013/2014 season and it looks very appealing… the orchestra is obviously thriving under the leadership of conductor Charles Demuynck.

young Leslie; old violin!

The concert opened with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Violin Concerto in E major.  Our soloist was Leslie Ashworth who has already made her Carnegie Hall debut; has recently received 1st Class Honours in ARCT Piano Performance Exam; studied Celtic fiddling in Cape Breton;has composed 25 works  & she is just 16 years old!The Violin Concerto is set in the traditional Vivaldi pattern of fast, slow, fast movements and is very well known.  The allegro opens with three bold chords and is buoyant and cheerful, this is followed by a delicate adagio where the solo violin is grounded by the bass and then we are back to a familiar rondo form with some extremely difficult solo passages.  Ms Ashworth played this effortlessly and even seemed to slightly elongate some notes in the opening allegro which gave extra definition without harming the rhythm, and I detected a hint of Celtic fiddling in the third movement where she appeared to have fun despite its difficulty.  I have a feeling we will hear much more of this young lady in the years to come.
The first half of the program concluded with Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 in F sharp, also known as the ‘Farewell Symphony’.  The story is that Haydn’s employer, Prince Esterhazy had neglected to give his musicians any vacation so as a hint, in the final section individual musicians leave the stage and depart one by one, even the conductor, until only two violins are left to complete the piece.  The ploy worked and the musicians got their vacation.  Despite this Haydn generally liked working for the Prince as it gave him a chance to experiment with compositions and ‘be as bold as I pleased’.  Symphony No. 45 is scored for oboes, bassoon, French horns, strings and continuo and at times the orchestra, especially the horns, appeared a bit tentative and they had just nicely settled into the piece when the air conditioning came on with a rather loud and disruptive noise.
Post interval: – Bach’s Orchestral Suite No 3 in D Major; a work in six parts which include the haunting Air on a G string.  The stately Overture moves on to the Air, then two lively gavottes, a bourree and finally a lilting gigue.  Much of this music was very familiar to everyone and the orchestra seemed to enjoy playing it as much as we enjoyed hearing it.  It was a rousing end to the season and left us looking forward to their next season of very engaging music.

It is worth noting that this orchestra appears to be attracting more sponsors, meaning more concerts and more outreach to young performers.

For information about upcoming events visit http://www.oakvillechamber.org

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