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The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra presented the final concert of its season at the Blue Ridge Conference Hall. The program consisted of three fine works from the Classical and Romantic repertoires: Joseph Haydn’s Piano Concerto No. 11, Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, in E-flat, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, in G.
The evening began with Thomas Gabriel Turner, winner of this year’s HSO Young Artist Competition, playing the Vivace first movement of the Haydn concerto. Turner brought a robust attack and a joyous demeanor to the work. His runs were excellent and his voicing was expressive. He collaborated well with the orchestra, at one point nodding to music director Thomas Joiner to cue the end of a fermata and time for the orchestra to reenter. I felt some solo passages were a little rushed (perhaps adrenaline kicking in) and near the end I would have preferred better dynamic balance between the left-hand and right-hand runs, but this was a very successful first appearance with a professional orchestra for a talented 16-year-old.
Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony was the last symphony he composed. It memorializes a happy trip to the Rhineland that he and Clara took, including a visit to the Cologne Cathedral. He consciously avoided writing any sort of “program” describing the five movements, but I will add one:
Lebhaft: Rejoice in this day which God hath made
Sehr mässig: This glorious day in spring
Nicht schnell: All’s right with the world
Feierlich: God’s in his Heaven
Lebhaft: Rejoice, again and always
The brass section distinguished itself throughout this work. The first movement attacks set the scene for the rest of the orchestra. The fourth movement brass pianissimos were exquisite. Shannon Thompson’s clarinet work in the third movement should also be noted, and the strings stretched themselves to realize the composer’s intent. Just as Siegfried enjoyed his Rhine journey, so did the HSO.
While the first half of the program was pleasing, the second half was simply a revelation. Jorge Federico Osorio is a Mexican-born Chicago-based piano teacher and concert pianist. He has a long concert career behind him, and this was his second appearance with the HSO, but I had not previously heard him. I can’t wait to hear him again.
Osorio’s favorite Beethoven concerto (mine too) is No. 4, in G, and he gave an amazing and detailed interpretation of the work. Osorio oozed musicianship from every pore, and seemed incapable of sounding a single note that didn’t demonstrate his vision of the piece. He showed a delicacy of touch on his first entry (those unconventional first measures in which the solo piano plays briefly ending on the dominant, followed by the orchestra entering on the mediant) and later used small delays of single notes to good purpose.
The first movement cadenza was intricately voiced and controlled to the nth degree. In the Andante, his superb control and attention to each note reminded me of Vladimir Horowitz in live performance. Osorio performed the Rondo with passion, inspiring the orchestra to play at its highest level.
The audience needed an encore, and Osorio obliged with J.S. Bach’s Sarabande from Partita No. 1 in B-flat, S.825. Here again was meticulous voicing and profound musicality. The concert closed and the audience left in a driving rain. We had been to a very special concert, and memories of it would sustain us for the ensuing week. A voice sings to us:
Rejoice in this day which God hath made
Rejoice in Jorge Federico Osorio
Rejoice in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra