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Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and violinist Jennifer Koh thrill audience at Bing

11.06.14
Jennifer Koh
The Stanford Daily

Excerpted from The Stanford Daily:

By Marisa Lin 

… Koh joined forces with Orpheus for an elegant rendition of the Bach concerto. Standing amid the orchestra in a magnificent magenta strapless dress, she dived into the first movement with gusto, the strings following not far behind. In the “Andante,” the gentle lilting of the cellos supported expressive legato phrases as Koh, eyes closed and face tilted upwards, gauged the exact amount of pressure that would draw out the sweet, warm timbres of this emotional movement. Next came the fiery “Allegro Assai,” in which Koh led the orchestra, with assertive playfulness, to a triumphant conclusion.

Koh remained center stage to perform the world premiere of Anne Clyne’s “Rest These Hands.” It began with a barely audible drone from the bass as Koh entered with an exotic, haunting melody. The tension between the two lines was almost palpable, clashing with dissonance. A substantial violin cadenza in the middle of the work, with arpeggiated chords, double-stops, slides and scales showed off Koh’s remarkable technical ability and artistic finesse. Later, other strings slipped in, creating a quiet cacophony of murmurs, chatters and whispers, above which Koh’s violin soared with its long, piercing tones. Meanwhile, as the music progressed, the stage lights gradually dimmed, illuminating Koh’s figure against the dark backdrop of chromatic harmonies and ominous undertones. In the last line, notes clashed then fused together, melting away into soft silence.

The final piece on the program, Mozart’s Symphony No. 34 in C Major K. 338, was quick to dissipate the solemnity of Clyne’s composition. Once again, Orpheus brought impressive clarity to the work with its crisp bowings and clean scales, both of which reflected precision in technique, tone and character. Its interpretation of this three-movement symphony successfully highlighted the whimsical moods of Mozart — capricious, charming, pompous and tender. The third movement provided a thrilling conclusion to the concert as the strings raced breathlessly toward the end, relenting occasionally for bright commentary by the winds. After the last resounding chords, the audience offered a partial standing ovation as the performers filed off stage.

Read the full review here.