A Superb Opening Concert of the 2017 Summermusik

A Superb Opening Concert of the 2017 Summermusik
Rafael’s Music Notes | 08.06.17

Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.3 in A minor is a superb vehicle for any orchestra, and last night it became the perfect opener for the inaugural concert of the CCO’s new era under Maestro Eckart Preu, the first of twelve concerts to be given in the orchestra’s August 2017 lineup.

What makes Mendelssohn’s Op.56 “Scottish” has to do mostly with an entry in the composer’s diary, in which he wrote after a visit to Scotland in 1829, “In the deep twilight we went today to the palace were Queen Mary lived and loved…The chapel below is now roofless. Grass and ivy thrive there and at the broken altar where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. Everything is ruined, decayed, and the clear heavens pour in. I think I have found there the beginning of my ‘Scottish’ Symphony.”

The Andante/Allegro opening is followed by a spirited Vivace, which in turn segues to a stately Adagio in which the strings are first given a march-like melody that is then passed on to the woodwinds and brass, and finally shared by the entire ensemble. It is a movingly evocative section that constitutes the heart and soul of the composition. The final movement begins restlessly, but, in an unusual musical turn of events, it is unpredictably brought to a serenely majestic finish by the composer.

Mendelssohn’s symphony was also a perfect calling card for Music Director Preu, who passionately led the orchestra’s three dozen regular members, mining for subtlety and color, and eliciting great playing from his formidable ensemble.