Saturday, February 24, 2007

Central Oregon Symphony

Last Monday evening, our family was able to attend the Central Oregon Symphony, which is always enjoyable for all. Beginning the program this time around was Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major, with soloist Ron Blessinger. Both the concerto and Mr. Blessinger were wonderful.

After the intermission, we were treated to Three Dances from "The Bartered Bride" by Smetana and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Each of these was memorable and interesting, but all the more-so because of the approach of our beloved conductor, Michael Gesme.

We--Dawn and I, the kids, everyone around us at such a concert--absolutely love the casual, caring, and educational way Michael has with the folks in the crowd. (I don't know Michael, and have no reason to be on a first-name basis with him, but it just seems what he would expect, given his informal, conversational style.) He generally previews interesting sections of one or more of the night's pieces, helping us to know what to listen for once it's played "for real," and explaining some of the nuances of what the composer was intending. I don't know whether many other conductors take this refreshing approach (it's unique in our admittedly-limited experience), but it has certainly captured the hearts and ensured the loyalty of the symphony-goers fortunate enough to live in Central Oregon.

We've enjoyed the Central Oregon Symphony--and its conductor, Michael Gesme--for many years now. Another great thing about blogging is that it affords me the (electronic) chance to finally express to a larger audience the appreciation we've always had of everyone involved in the symphony, and especially Michael. We're looking forward to their next offering.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rick, we've also attended the COS for as long as we've lived here. We've gotten to know Michael, but even more his lovely wife (who plays viola) and his parents Arlene and Gary, who travel from Moline, IL, just to be at the concerts and spend time with the grandchildren.

Michael Gesme, as you have said, is an Oregon treasure, and many regional orchestras would be glad to have him as their music director. His humorous and clever remarks to the audience recall the wonderful introductions that Leonard Bernstein used to provide for those attending the NY Philharmonic.

We attend the Saturday evening performances, though, as you have said, there are Monday evening and even Sunday afternoon performances as well.

Didn't Mr. Blessinger make playing the Beethoven seem absolutely effortless? What a treat!