November 14 and 15 marked the opening concerts for the Symphony of the Redwoods’ 33rd season. Symphony PayPal records showed attendants from hours away, including Chico, Sacramento, San Jose, and Miranda.
The first piece of the night was Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor, featuring a massive brass section composed of local and visiting musicians. “This ensemble was formed specifically for this piece,” explained percussionist Tess Albin-Smith. “They rounded out the piece in a way we weren’t able to experience during rehearsal.”
The Symphony has limited practice time prior to each performance, but for the musicians, rehearsals are the biggest perk to being a member. “Our director, Allen [Pollack] is always sharing his interpretations of the pieces we’re performing,” said Albin-Smith. His most memorable anecdote related to their second piece of the evening, Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony. “He described it as Beethoven’s ‘big joke’,” Albin-Smith said. “It sounds similar to Haydn’s ‘Surprise’ Symphony, getting soft then unexpectedly loud.”
For their closing piece, the Symphony was joined by featured soloist Yevgeny Kutik, who performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto #1 in g minor with virtuoso aplomb rarely experienced here on the Coast. “He played completely from memory, even during rehearsal,” recalled Albin-Smith. “It didn’t matter what measure number we started from. He knew exactly what to play.” As soon as the final chord was struck, the audience immediately leapt to their feet. Several Saturday night attendees chose to return on Sunday for a second dose of Kutik’s stirring performance.
The Symphony’s “Winter Dreams” concerts will be at Cotton Auditorium in Fort Bragg on February 6th and 7th, with featured soloist Erin Neff. Like us on Facebook and follow our blog for more Symphony of the Redwoods updates.