Goot Eevnink… The first words out of Maestro Kalmar’s mouth last night were not only welcoming, they were prophetic. Turns out the evening was going to be very good indeed – the final performance of a 3-day homestand featuring the band’s intrepid music director back on the podium and soprano Amber Wagner back in the Beaver State. It was a special occasion after all, so the program appropriately kicked off with some occasional music from Mozart: his “Posthorn” Serenade No. 9 to be precise. What could have been utterly forgettable classical Musak® in the hands of most composers, the recessional accompanying Salzburg Benedictine University’s latest batch of grads in 1779 was penned by a 23-year-old hometown genius, and we humans still find ourselves playing the music without any expectation of turned tassels or tossed caps. Elegantly joyful and perfectly crafted, Wolfgang’s episodic serenade served as a brilliant showcase for the elite group of orchestral musicians assembled. On flute and oboe, principals Jess Sindell and Marty Hebert stuck every complicated landing, flawlessly illustrating the technical marvel that is the Oregon Symphony woodwind section. And what about those strings?! [sigh] The violins never sounded sweeter, once again weaving sonic wonder, skillful precision, and powerfully surprising emotions under the leadership of newly minted concertmaster Sarah Kwak. After seven movements of absolute acoustic pleasure, the Schnitzer crowd was dismissed for intermission, instilled with a great spirit of encouragement and expectation for the very, very near future. O ~ the Joy!
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