At Schlesinger, Alexandria Symphony Orchestra balanced variety with focus
By Grace Jean,
In the final moments of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s performance Saturday evening, the maestro was jumping in tempo as his musicians and soloist brought the Schlesinger Concert Hall audience to its feet — a fitting conclusion to a collaborative concert that was as dynamic as it was evocative and inspiring.
Under the baton of music director Kim Allen Kluge, Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat, Op. 73 — featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman — unfolded in an easy blend between soloist and orchestra. Kluge’s podium was angled toward the violins, all the better to coordinate with Bronfman and to respond to his musical whims. The result was a fluid interplay between piano and orchestra throughout the 40-minute work.
Bronfman is an elegant and fastidious pianist who displays none of the flashy showmanship of his Steinway-playing peers. His energy emanates from his fingers and swirls out of the piano with such perfection that every note grabs the ear with an expressive, singing quality. When his hands swept the full length of the keyboard in arpeggios and scales, Bronfman made it all look effortless. But his single-note melodies were just as breathtaking, especially in the adagio, which sounded especially sonorous and tender.
In Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” the ASO uncovered an endless palette of sonic hues and textures. It was the ideal showcase for the orchestra’s talented players.
The program also included the first movement of Hovhaness’s Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain,” featuring Arlington Youth Orchestra members playing alongside the ASO, and a selection from Thomas Newman’s score for the 1994 film “Little Women.”
Jean is a freelance writer.