... audience brought to their feet and cheers of delight
Besides remaking the Melrose Symphony, Yoichi Udagawa has a talent for bringing in marvelous guest performers - such as violinist Elita Kang, whose talent and personality enchanted her audience last Saturday evening.
Slender and pretty, she had full control of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, projecting its romantic charm in its reflective moments as well as sections of drama. She was an unusually graceful figure on that Memorial Hall stage, capturing the warmth of this very popular concerto. Her tone is pure and warm, deep tones as required, and those exciting moments of solo part rising steadily higher and higher to highest intensity -- beautiful and exciting.
It's always interesting to hear what a violinist will create in her own cadenza, but here Mendelssohn wrote all that down for the performer. Still, Ms. Kang, dramatized the cadenza with a variety of charm and excitement; those highest tones, higher and higher, exciting to hear in their dramatic intensity. She has total control of her instrument, always a sound of beauty, and she responds to the shifts in mood with dramatic response.
She of course received a standing ovation with lusty cheers. Then a surprise -- she came back on stage for an encore -- a frenzied blue grass creation that again brought the audience to their feet and cheers of delight!
The final work on the program was Dvorak's eighth symphony, probably his best. In the third movement there is an entrancing melody, which Udagawa had his orchestra play for us; then one of his imaginative actions - he had each section play its part, starting with the basses, then adding each section, finally to the top strings. It was fascinating to hear what each section adds to the final full orchestral sound.
The orchestra gave fine emphases and color to this symphony. That lovely melody our conductor played for us in 1/4 time -- with the drama offered us in that symphony, I almost expected some women to rise and do the waltz!
The program began with Beethoven's "Consecration of the House" overture. Not his greatest work, but program notes tell us that it was composed for the opening of a theater, and it was gratifying to believe that he was well paid for this piece, at a time when he was writing his great string quartets, and becoming even more deaf.
This has been a harsh winter, mountains of snow. But our Symphony brings in a full house every time.
Reprinted with permission from the Melrose Free Press March 06,2014..