ARCO’s professionalism excels with premieres
Three firsts came together last night — united by excellence.
Two out of four works in the ARCO Chamber Orchestra’s program made United States’ premieres and Reid Messich performed the oboe solo of Bach’s «Concerto for Oboe, Violin and Orchestra in C Minor, BWV 1060.»
Baroque, Romantic and Contemporary compositions followed chronological order, guiding the listeners through the concert as a whole. An intermission separated composer Efrem Podgaits’ works from Bach and Schubert’s pieces, creating a nice divider between music of the past and present.
Messich’s energy, particularly in the final «Allegro» of Bach’s work, was as breathtaking for the audience as for himself, taking a deep breath as soon as he finished. Messich conveyed the oboe’s voice of the concerto as a vivacious, agile and intricate song — his performance created and exuded absolute and unwavering musical beauty.
Ruth Monson performed the violin solo of the concerto. When she performed the «Adagio,» her violin claimed center stage as the other violinists played pizzicato. Because several other violins performed the piece, Monson’s violin blended with and stood behind Messich’s oboe for the majority of the work.
Ambartsumian’s arrangement of Schubert’s «Sonata for Violin and Orchestra, D. 821» and performance on violin captured the distinctive drama and emotional climax of so many of Schubert’s works. As he paused, he swayed, eyes closed, to the orchestra’s accompaniment, demonstrating his deep musical connection and understanding of the piece.
Podgaits’ works «Kol Nidrei» and the United States’ premiere of «Cras Ignotum» created a strong conclusion to ARCO’s performance. Many of the compositions’ sounds mimicked mechanical or synthetic sounds rather than the typical sounds associated with string instruments in both pieces.
Conductor Vladislav Bulakhov guided the orchestra and soloists through Podgaits’ works although the first two pieces of the concert were predominately self-guided by the orchestra. Podgaits’ works sounded more complex and multilayered than Bach and Schubert, although the orchestra exhibited no difficulties in executing «Kol Nidrei» and «Cras Ignotum.»
At the conclusion of «Cras Ignotum,» the audience gave Podgaits on stage a well-deserved standing ovation for his innovative works — an ovation that must be extended to the entire performance.