The WSO Season Opener in September, filled the house!
The WSO joined in the 150th Anniversary Celebration for the Waltham Public Library. To commemorate the occasion, the WSO commissioned Waltham-born composer Dianne Rahbee-Goolkasian. In her work “Time Passes by,” she reminds us that Waltham was, before anything else, the Watch City of America. A constant woodblock beat throughout the work reminded listeners of the never-ending ticking of time and the relentless motion of clockwork mechanisms. Many well-known Armenian folk themes are presented in the composition. Some of them with direct connection to the Armenian holocaust; they were beautiful repetitive melodies and lullabies. As one audience member commented, it was a “beautiful and moving piece."
Wagner! I finally programmed one of his works with the WSO, “Der Meistersinger Overture.” This Prelude to Act I (as it is called) is from the only opera by Wagner that is a comedy. It is set in Nuremberg at the end of the Middle-Ages and based on the real guild of Master Singers, very important at the time. I love conducting that Overture! The audience members loved it too, especially enjoying a connection to the brass section who themselves reveled in the boisterous melodies.
Saint-Saens Bacchanale: The orchestra members pushed me to up the tempo even on the day of the performance. To their credit, they were right! The brisk tempos thrilled the audience, leaving them standing on their feet at the end of the performance. The solos were absolutely magnificent, especially the beautiful and daunting oboe solo performed by principal oboist Amy Dinsmore. She has one of the most beautiful tones of which one can dream!
Mozart Concerto No 17 with pianist Thomas Stumpf: My good friend and long time musical accomplice, Thomas Stumpf lent us his virtuosic piano skills in a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in A Major, K453. His performance was magnificent and exquisite. The slow movement especially possessing rare beauty in the absolute technical precision and beauty of each phrase. Stumpf created a reverent, spiritual atmosphere through his intense, simple interpretation. Each note being carefully thought out, placed, and balanced. This reflects Thomas's wonderful personality, which leaves pomposity at the door, does not take itself too seriously, and loves having good fun. I knew he would be the best conspirator for performing this concerto. Bravo!
I look forward to seeing you all for the Dec. 6 Holiday Pops Concert.
--Patrick Botti, Music Director