The Inca Trail
(Name Redacted) Symphony Orchestra
Jessica Warren-Acosta, Andean flutes
Kenneth Olsen, cello
Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor
It may come as a surprise to discover a number of orchestra musicians less than perfectly satisfied all of the time. For some, displeasure with the goings on at hand is an essential piece of equipment, akin to the gunslinger’s six-shooter. For them, it is best not take to the open range (or the stage, as we call it) without an ammo belt fully loaded with invective, holster flap unbuttoned, ready to fire from the hip an ill-considered complaint, a fusillade of perfunctory condemnation at the first sign of trouble.
Right off the bat, I confess to joining up with many a hastily assembled angry posse, riding down an innocent composer, conductor, program, concert venue, or what-have-you, and stringing them up from the nearest tree without a second thought.
In that spirit, I took notice of the Inca Trail program – a collection of South American music performed with a video projection – and immediately took a disliking to it. My knee-jerk objections were not to the continent of South America or its music, but more to my own dislike of playing another ‘concert’ in the dark, background music to a slideshow. My reaction to seeing one of those on the schedule is usually to tear my hair out. Unfortunately, the increasing frequency of these multimedia type shows has forced me to sport a crew cut year-round, literally to save my scalp from repeated, ravaging manual depilation.
As it turned out, the concert proved an entertaining evening, at least from my seat. Harth-Bedoya’s arrangements were mostly well done and a couple of the original modern works were captivating. Both soloists acquitted themselves admirably. Visual content in this type of programming can easily overwhelm and distract from the music. In this case, I thought the visuals were tastefully understated, as were Harth Bedoya’s (mercifully) brief comments between pieces.
The Ars Viva Mozart program proved a collection of pure gems. David Schrader is something of a local treasure, if I may say so. The delicate sound of his fortepiano made the audience (and even certain members of the orchestra) prick up their ears to listen, and it stood as a reminder of how much louder music has gotten in the last couple centuries. The concert, a strenuous affair to begin with, dragged on a bit for my taste – more than 2 ½ hours, including fully thirty minutes of speaking.
Ars Viva symphony Orchestra
Mozart Symphony No. 1 in E-flat, K. 16
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat, K. 456 (“Paradis”)
David Schrader, fortepiano
Mozart Ch’io mi scordi di te – Non temer, K. 505
Michelle Areyzaga, soprano
David Schrader, fortepiano
Mozart Symphony No. 36 in C, K. 425 (“Linz”)
Alan Heatherington, conductor