Dr. John Anderson, conductor
Monterey County has reason to be proud to have a performing group of the caliber of the Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra. Their fine sound was heard at the St. Philip’s Lutheran Church on Saturday evening to a packed sanctuary which gave a well-deserved standing ovation to performances of Strauss’ Suite in B flat, Op 4 and the Serenade No. 10 in B flat, the Gran Partita, K. 361 by Mozart.
Normally, one does not list the names of the individuals in such an ensemble but because each member was admirably featured during the course of the concert is does seem appropriate: Kudos to flutes Lars Johannesson and Marci Krause; oboes Peter Lemberg and Debbie Busch; clarinets Erica Horn and Grant Rosen; Basset horns Karen Sremac and Jeff Gallagher; Bassoons Jane Orzel and Gail Selburn; Horns Scott Hartman, John Orzel, Jeff Fowler and Ruth Jordan; and bass Kelly Beecher. All were led with great satisfaction by the eloquent Dr. John Anderson.
Anyone interested in classical music should know these two wonderful pieces both for the music itself and for the complexity woven throughout each. As a listener and student of classical music, you have to be impressed with both composers’ ability to take many lines of music, many voices of thought and blend them into a quilt of harmony that is interesting, engaging and inspiring. One is awed by the “composer brain” that can construct and make clear every idea and theme. There are many ideas and themes and all are heard, all have their respective moments to shine, and all are important and complement each other (see Soapbox, below). In particular, the stunning lines in Strauss’ Romanze movement and brilliant Fugue, which ends the Suite, are particularly memorable.
Of course, no one wrote for winds like Mozart did. His passion for and variety in color, dynamics, rhythms, beauty of line (go, oboes and clarinets!) and fun (go, bassoons!) is incomparable. In order to perform Mozart well, the artists must be totally competent on his or her instrument, must be sensitive to his or her role in the overall work and MUST listen to the other players. The Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra is acutely aware of what great music should be.
Thank you Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra!
Soapbox: While listening to this concert, it occurred to me that members of the Senate and House of Representatives should listen to Mozart. Like musicians, if they are competent, know their purpose in the overall goal of their organization and just LISTEN to each other, perhaps they just possibly might make some beautiful music together.