by Karen Lunde for OLY ARTS
When an orchestra covers a beloved composer, it must take care to play his music with precision. “No piece of music is easy,” said Huw Edwards, Music Director and Conductor of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra, “but Mozart is famous for being so exposed — any blemish on [the performance’s] purity is magnified. The accompaniment is chamber music writ-large, so the players have to be very sensitive.”
The Olympia Symphony Orchestra will perform two pieces by beloved composers for its Feb. 18 concert, Closing Remarks. “Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will feature Russian pianist Oksana Ezhokina, who is lauded for her Mozart playing. The offering pairs with “Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944” “Great” by Franz Schubert. The concert features late works by renowned composers, both of whom died in their 30s.
“Although these are ‘late’ or ‘last’ works, it should be remembered that both composers died so young … so they are still the works of young men,” said Edwards. “There is a palpable valedictory mood about the Mozart, definitely an essay in final things, but the Schubert is full of energy and wide-eyed optimism. He hoped it would rank up there with the Symphonies of Beethoven. Alas, he never heard a note of it performed in his lifetime.”
“The Schubert ‘Great C-major’ is notorious for being an endurance test for the strings,” said Edwards. “There are thousands of measures in this work, so maintaining the energy and corporate pulse is a challenge. Schubert penned this Symphony when he was 29—quite remarkable! He’s the wisest and most world-weary 29-year-old I’ve ever encountered.”
The Olympia Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 65th anniversary this year with a season entitled Thinking Big. Closing Remarks kicks off three symphonies to be presented this spring, culminating with Beethoven’s Ninth in April. The concert marks a rare matinee performance. Edwards points out that it also occurs the day before Presidents’ Day, a school holiday, making it a family-friendly event.
Classical music lovers should expect a wonderful performance, says Edwards. “The players have been fantastic, and we’re getting better all the time. We have experienced some positive changes this year, so it was a good time to push the envelope and step-up our game. It’s going to be a fun three months.”
Olympia Symphony Orchestra: Closing Remarks
Washington Center Main Stage
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
3:00 p.m. Sunday, February 18
360-753-8586 | The Washington Center for the Performing Arts