Everyone who helped honor the great masters -- from Maestro Sidney
Weiss to soloists Olivia Tsui and Andrew Picken to the superb musicians
of the orchestra -- was not only a skilled master, but also a humble
servant to the music of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms.
Beethoven wrote no less than four overtures to his opera, "Fidelio"
(or "Leonore," as it was originally called), which tells the story of a
woman whose husband has been falsely imprisoned by the governor of the
Spanish state prison, and her heroic efforts to save his life. Never
completely satisfied with his composition, Beethoven was continually
"mastering" the overture as a musical form.
The Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72 is a monumental work in which
Beethoven successfully captured the essence of the entire opera. Its
power was unleashed by the members of the orchestra who constantly tested
the dynamic limits of their instruments, from an almost inaudible
pianissimo to a thundering triple forte.
Olivia Tsui's (violin) and Andrew Picken's (viola) performance of
Mozart's Symphonia Concertante for violin and viola, K. 364 -- a
"symphony" in the form of a concerto -- was that of accomplished masters
of their respective instruments. Regular members of the Glendale Symphony
Orchestra, they seamlessly presented musical theme after theme not only
as virtuoso soloists, but also as equal musical partners.
The exquisite unaccompanied duets in the first and second movements,
in which Mozart brilliantly matched the darker, almost haunting, timbre
of the viola with the inherently brighter violin, were exceptionally
The appreciative Alex audience was equally generous with its heartfelt
applause. Unlike Mozart and Beethoven, Brahms waited until he had
mastered the symphonic form before composing his first symphony at 43,
and was 50 when he composed his Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90.
While the evening's earlier works showcased the lush strings of the
orchestra, the Brahms allowed the low brass and winds to take center
stage. Especially noteworthy were the masterful solo performances by
principal hornist Jim Atkinson and principal clarinetist Roy D'Antonio.
In an age of so many jack-of-all-trades orchestras, it is both
refreshing and encouraging to hear an orchestra like the Glendale
Symphony, under the leadership of Maestro Weiss, which is truly a
"master" of the "Great Masters."