Sensitive violinist Stefan Jackiw played Mendelssohn in Duncan with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. (Submitted)

Review: Cowichan Symphony Society opens the season with magical concert

This was the first concert in a season of six concerts

By Mike Mills

From the moment the two French horns play in the first few bars we were transported into Carl Maria Von Weber’s Magical forest and wolf glen.

The Victoria Symphony under the masterful baton of Maestro Giordano Bellincampi was at its lyrical best in Weber’s overture to Der Freischutz as it opened the concert on Friday night.

This was the first concert in a season of six concerts brought to us by the Cowichan Symphony Society for the 2019/20 season.

Maestro Bellincampi was then joined by the young violin virtuoso from New York Stefan Jackiw. Jackiw showed complete mastery of his 1704 Rugeri violin has he took us through a beautiful performance of the ever popular Mendelssohn concerto in E Minor. Since its first performance in 1845 this innovative concerto has become one of the most popular concerti and a requisite for all aspiring violinists. Jackiw was well up to its intricacies and truly deserved the standing ovation he received at the end. Throughout, Bellincampi showed a delicate touch keeping the orchestra and the soloist in perfect balance.

After the intermission the orchestra thrilled us with a great performance Schumann’s second symphony in C Major. The work was a difficult one for Schumann as he was recovering from a nervous breakdown and some of the emotional tension comes through, especially in the first movement. Bellincampi, the music director of the Auckland symphony, brought the first movement to a crashing ending worthy of the all blacks rugby team performing their Hakka. The audience could not control their appreciation and gave a round of applause before the piece moved on to the second scherzo movement which continues the conflicting emotions.

The orchestra ably displayed why the third slow Adagio movement is considered one of Schumann’s greatest works for orchestra with the melancholy beauty of the long woodwind solos.

The fourth movement brought resolution to the conflicts and ended the way all great symphonies should in a grand finale designed to bring audiences back to the next concert; which in this case will be on Nov. 16 .

The second concert will feature works by Lars Erik Larsson, Lindberg and Mozart and the Cowichan Symphony Society looks forward to welcoming all those patrons back. But before then there is a musical luncheon extravaganza at the Chemainus Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 3. Tickets are $80 of which half is tax deductible and will feature music and drama of Shakespeare performed by talented artists, all of whom are donating their services to support the society. Tickets can be obtained by phoning 250-715-0907 or raetedrhodes@shaw.ca

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