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Overview: DeKalb Symphony continues to blossom below Paul Bhasin’s baton

The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra’s 2022 fall run has been a proving floor of types for the fledgling orchestra. The season opened in September with a robust efficiency below the command of new music director Paul Bhasin and the nice and cozy glow of his signature attraction.

On Tuesday night within the Marvin Cole Auditorium on the Perimeter School of Georgia State College’s Clarkston Campus, the symphony returned for its second efficiency below the brand new conductor. With that got here the chance to see if the ensemble would proceed to gel nicely collectively below Bhasin’s new management. It was clear by the capability crowd that native enthusiasm for the orchestra stays sturdy.

The live performance started with Georges Bizet’s “L’Arlésienne” Suite No. 2. The product of an unsuccessful collaboration between Bizet and playwright Alphonse Daudet, the 2 suites survive as a soundtrack compilation of types. It was a shaky opener — the anthemic first motion, “Pastorale,” leans closely on accentuations from the horn part and there was one thing unfocused and warbly within the opening strains. The second motion, “Intermezzo,” fared higher with its cheerful, adventurous tone that known as to thoughts the early works of Koji Kondo.

All through the opening actions of “L’Arlésienne,” there was an odd dramatic rigidity between the horns and strings — probably a carryover from Daudet’s authentic story, which offers with the agony of unrequited love. Regardless of the case, an eye-of-the-storm second emerges within the third motion, “Menuet,” which featured a mild and fascinating dialogue between harp and flute. 

Principal flutist Kathy Farmer deserves explicit distinction. The motion was calm, wistful and pastoral, however nonetheless endowed with melodic runs of formidable virtuosity. For an orchestra nonetheless very a lot within the throes of transition, such a standout efficiency is essential and was a welcome spotlight to the night.

Paul Bhasin, the brand new music director of the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra

For all its bombastic attraction, “L’Arlésienne” paled compared to the next providing, a efficiency of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Main. It featured a visitor look by violinist Jessica Wu, a founding member of the acclaimed Vega Quartet, which is in residence at Emory College.

Bach casts a protracted shadow throughout the canon of classical music and amongst his huge array of accomplishments is a singular capability to write down an enticing featured-instrument concerto. 

Many main composers use their concertos for a show of senseless solo virtuosity that’s solely sometimes accentuated by the bigger ensemble. Bach, then again, wrote jovial, partaking melody all through the work that bounced cheerfully off an omnipresent ensemble accompaniment.

Wu had ample alternative to show her appreciable chops within the context of a enjoyable, upbeat composition that by no means overlooked the melody. The piece appeared to go by in a flash, bookended by the epic grandiosity of the primary and third actions. It was the standout efficiency of the evening. The DSO has carried out nicely to complement its seasonal performances with a bevy of visitor expertise that not solely elevates the standard of its live shows however additional permits the symphony to rub shoulders with native musical luminaries.

The night’s third and remaining piece was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, op. 64. Written across the theme of “destiny” and serving as a examine within the composer’s personal grappling with future versus free will, the work is unnervingly ominous and moribund in its opening motion — an uncommon selection for a composer so usually given to the euphoric and eccentric. 

That unorthodox opening, with its funeral-dirge tempo and brooding angst, allowed the orchestra to place its greatest foot ahead and lean on their assured string part. Tchaikovsky was all the time a strings man before everything and his option to play to his personal strengths allowed the orchestra to play to theirs.

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 covers super floor however builds slowly at a sober and deliberate tempo that supplied the symphony with a chance to reintroduce every of its sections in a fashion that was finally satisfying — a redemption of types for any weak performances within the opening Bizet.

The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, after seeing turmoil lately when it was with out each an govt director and music director, has now stabilized and is a promising orchestra. Bhasin has charismatic management and skillful conducting, and the orchestra has Alan Hopper as govt director. 

There may be all the time a way of a low ceiling with this orchestra since most of its musicians are volunteer. However it’s heartening to listen to the orchestra get the perfect out of what it has, and to be elevated with visitor performers resembling Wu.


Jordan Owen started writing about music professionally on the age of 16 in Oxford, Mississippi. A 2006 graduate of the Berklee School of Music, he’s an expert guitarist, bandleader and composer. He’s at the moment the lead guitarist for the jazz group Different Strangers, the facility metallic band Axis of Empires and the melodic loss of life/thrash metallic band Century Spawn.



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