“Carl Maria von Weber’s Concerto No. 1 for Clarinet and Orchestra still holds pride of place in the clarinet repertoire due to its wit, elegance, and superior writing for the clarinet, Weber’s favorite wind instrument. Elias Rodriguez, winner of TŌN’s 2017 Concerto Competition, played this dramatic and demanding piece with fierce finesse and casual aplomb.
Rodriguez handled the virtuoso dynamics of this piece with smooth acrobatic tone that exuded passion, beauty, and spanking, joking mischief, as this near-operatic program story demanded romance, successful courting, an objector to the marriage, and the objector being ejected from the wedding reception with a finale full of delirious merriment. Rodriguez was articulate, genial, and humorous in his introduction to this classic gem that appears to have dancing legs in any century.
Gustav Mahler’s Seventh Symphony offers a musical feast. If you wish to show off the talents of an orchestra, this is the masterpiece for the whole orchestra to aspire to. Leon Botstein successfully drew out the cheerful optimism of the rather orgasmic Allegro with brass blazing, bells ringing, and strings sweeping. Mahler’s Seventh is simply a breathtaking epic for all ages and the TŌN Orchestra delivered a powerful, memorable performance. I would have not missed this truly Olympic symphony for all the muscular Olympics of the world.” —Kevin T. McEneaney
Photo by David DeNee