Despite the continued portrayal of Bend and Central Oregon as a mini epicenter for indie, folk, rock, metal, hip-hop and pop music, thanks to the excellent musicianship of the Central Oregon Symphony under the able direction of maestro Michael Gesme, classical music remains alive and well in our community.
Playing to packed houses at Bend Senior High School this past weekend, the symphony proved once again that it can perform at a high level as it continues to offer great orchestral music as well as serve as a springboard for young solo talents. In the case of the three weekend concerts, 17-year-old flautist Nick Loeffler and 12-year-old violinist Kiarra Saito-Beckman.
Both young artists played flawlessly and with poise well beyond their years. Loeffler’s skill, particularly during the cadenza of Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute in D Major” was astounding.
For her part, Saito-Beckman made Henryk Wieniawski’s “Polonaise Brilliante” sparkle with energy.
Prior to the two soloists efforts, the evening opened with Rimsky-Korsakov folk tune inspired “Russian Easter Overture.” It has been said of the composer that he, “was urged by a rhythmic force and vivid sense of orchestral color.” And that’s exactly what the Central Oregon Symphony delivered in their interpretation of the overture.
Taking up the entire second half of the program was Shubert’s “Symphony No. 9,” in C Major, aka, “The Great.”
This wonderful “warhorse” symphony with overtones of Schubert’s mentor and friend Beethoven phrasing, remains a highly accessible and romantic work given a solid, lush interpretation by Maestro Gesme and the Symphony.