Westchester Philharmonic

October 7, 2012;  matinee

Last Sunday’s concert featured world-renowned conductor and violinist jaime Laredo, and equally famous Jennifer Koh as violin soloist.

Opening number was a well-known fanfare by Paul Dukas which was played by the brass section alone.  Very short, attention getting, but not particularly astute musically.

Laredo and Koh soloed together in  the Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, always an interesting piece when played well, as was this performance. 

But it was when Mr. Laredo picked up his baton and conducted behind Ms. Koh’s violion solo in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D minor that it really picked up.  When you watch a gifted violinist whose instrument becomes another body part, you can see her corporeal mass vibrate along with its voice.  She stretched her body this way and that and upward and even reached her tiptoes at some moments.  She very nearly left her feet on more than one occasion.  The piece is very nice;  the performance was spectacular, and the ovation was well-deserved.

For the finale, the orchestra played the standard classical repertoire favorite, Felix Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, his fourth.  He died at 38, the same age as George Gershwin, and three years older than Mozart who died at 35.  And what rich short lives they were!

Personally I love the Italian Symphony and this orchestra did it very well.  Maestro Laredo is a great conductor and the orchestra followed his lead every step of the way.

If you do get the chance, don’t neglect to visit this venue.  It is at Purchase College right up the road from the radio station.  Great stuff, no parking problems, high quality.