now that’s pathetic – part I

i’m not sure what you were up to at age 24, but more than likely, it probably wasn’t wielding a baton in front of a world-class orchestra in a foreign country.  that is exactly what happened, however, for the oregon symphony’s first guest conductor of the season.  with a wide pudgy smile and a floppy mop of curly black hair, maestro aziz shokhakimov briefly took in the warm applause monday night before ascending the schnitzer podium for his american debut.  a celebratory number certainly seemed in order, so it was fitting the program kicked off with the only truly fun piece of the night: an über-popular, spanish-flavored smash hit from nikolai rimsky-korsakov.  chock-full of colorful combinations, engaging energy, and bombastic brilliance, uncle nikolai’s capriccio espagnol is kinda everything one might expect from a late 19th-century russian orchestrator at the top of his game.  and just when you think this ditty couldn’t get any better, the work also makes a point of highlighting many individual players in the band.  all of ’em were stellar (unsurprisingly), but none were more notable than concertmaster kwak’s solo fiddle backed up by sergio’s undulating snare drumroll.  wowee ~ muy caliente!

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