Brahms & Elgar Sing at Bard

The Millbrook Independent

“The Orchestra Now under the baton of Leon Botstein opened its new season with the Violin Concerto by Johannes Brahms and Symphony No. 1 by Edward Elgar. Not being familiar with the latter, I had no expectations, yet was pleasantly surprised. Yet I was even more heartily surprised by the introductory piece by Joseph Joachim, ably introduced by the lead clarinetist for the piece, Micah Candiotti-Pacheco.

Written at the age of 21, Hamlet Overture (1853) runs for only 16 minutes, yet it delivers a powerful dramatic experience. This offers some wonderful horn composition and arrangements as the horns appear to be the voice of Hamlet. The wonder of this presentation is that the horns, usually such an extroverted instrument, manage to come across as introverted instruments, which is something that Botstein expertly extracted. The horns expire with Hamlet’s last breath and the diminuendo trailing of the elegiac strings achieve memorable pathos. This was antique gem that the orchestra played with crisp éclat, making it shine like new.” —Kevin T. McEneaney

Photo by Matt Dine