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Daniel Celidore, APSC Principal Oboe
HOMETOWN ORCHESTRA PLAYS TO CHEERING FANS AT WELLS
by Joan Lounsbery <http://www.classicalsonoma.org/users/?userid=56>
Sunday, April 05, 2009
The American Philharmonic Sonoma County, a community orchestra celebrating its 10th season, presented a "Quintessential Classics" program April 4 and 5 at the Wells Fargo Center. The event featured the concertmaster as conductor and its principal oboe as soloist.
Beginning with a lively reading of the overture to Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, conductor Evan Craves directed the whole program without a score. He has a terrific ability to introduce works verbally to the audience, showing himself to be both witty and enlightening - and the audience ate it up.
The program continued with Marcello's Concerto for Oboe and Strings. The work was introduced by the soloist, Daniel Celidore, who is also the orchestra's principal oboe. He played with elegance and lyric charm, supported by the solid continuo line of harpsichordist Phebe Craig and
cellist Kathy Vast. Celidore has been with the orchestra from the beginning, and the audience of 1,000 gave him a huge ovation.
The program moved into the Romantic era with a reading of Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn. Here one wished for a larger string section to achieve the lush romantic sound so characteristic of Brahms. In particular, the orchestra's lower strings are quite unbalanced in number, with nine cellos and only two basses. The work is a tour de force for the French horns, and the American Phil's horn section sounded great. The cello section also distinguished itself.
After intermission the orchestra returned for a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. The first movement (vivace) seemed to be without direction or intensity, and it simply did not match Craves' introductory description of the work as a "dance" symphony. However, in the allegretto second movement, conductor and orchestra hit their stride and by the end of the
35-minute masterpiece the orchestra was clicking on all cylinders and brought the work to a rousing finish. The woodwind section played masterfully, and ensemble and intonation were exemplary. At the Symphony's conclusion the audience jumped to its collective feet and literally hooted and hollered its way through several orchestra curtain calls.
Prior to the Beethoven, Artistic Director Gabriel Sakakeeny took center stage and presented an award to County Supervisor Shirlee Zane for her work with Sonoma County's senior citizens. It is rare and refreshing to see an orchestral organization publicly acknowledge an elected official.
American Phil concerts are free, and the organization depends on voluntary donations, perhaps explaining the large number of families in attendance. While the concert ran long at two and half hours (maybe there was one piece too many on the program?), nobody was seen leaving the theater, the audience staying until the very end to applaud its hometown community orchestra.
Beethoven would have loved it.