Philharmonic Orchestra earns standing ovations

02.22.09
Jennifer Koh
Evansville Courier & Press

We applaud as a courtesy and to show appreciation. We applaud louder and longer to show deeper appreciation and gratitude. We give a standing ovation as the ultimate sign of gratitude and to recognize excellence.

The Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra earned both standing ovations it received Saturday night for delivering an excellent classics program.

The all-Mozart first half was an excellent contrast to Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

Opening with the overture to "Cosi fan tutte," the orchestra got off to a great start with a full, warm sound and great execution. Though, by far, the least memorable piece of the evening, the overture was enjoyable none the less.

Next up was the guest soloist Jennifer Koh.

A 1727 Stradivari violin is a priceless instrument, but such a treasure comes to life only in the hands of a virtuoso. Koh's performance of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 was breathtaking, and hearing her play the centuries-old Stradivari was something I never will forget.

Her ability to reach every corner of The Victory during the absolute quietest of quite moments was stunning. There were several moments in which you could have truly heard a pin drop, and the full house was very respectful and attentive during her solo passages.

Her magnificent performance, and that of the Philharmonic's, was rightfully awarded with a standing ovation.

Hector Berlioz composed Syphonie Fantastique at 26. Think about what you were doing at age 26. There is no way he could have known the historic nature of this composition, but this amazing work blazed a path that sets Berlioz aside as one of the all-time greatest composers. The Philharmonic, with plenty of extra brass and percussion, gave an amazing performance of this historical work.

Though Symphonie Fantastique is a five-movement piece, the Philharmonic, under the direction of Alfred Savia, did a great job of making it feel seamless.

Every section of the orchestra did its part to make this a memorable evening. The strings offered a very warm, full sound and tackled the challenge of playing the most delicate to the most raucous passages.

This was a great opportunity for the brass section to shine, and they delivered an outstanding performance. The percussion, with as many as four tympanists in sections, also did its part to bring Berlioz's masterpiece to life.

This was truly a great performance.

The evening's program was an ideal line-up for the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. The works selected were complimentary to each other. The special guest soloist was amazing. The entire orchestra was on.

I am compelled to offer special round of applause to the principal oboist, Elizabeth Robertson. She had a huge role in every piece, and her performance was a delight.

In its latest installment of the Classics Series, the Evansville Philharmonic earned the standing ovation. Bravo!