Orchestra closes season with spirited Prokofiev

The Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra closed its 30th season Saturday night at the Hudson Falls High Sc

The Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra closed its 30th season Saturday night at the Hudson Falls High School auditorium with an invigorated performance of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. Conductor Charles Peltz put his heart on his sleeve and inspired his players, who dug in with a passionate resolve whenever possible. They seemed to understand how to evoke the piece’s heart and soul.

The symphony, which was written in 1945, is one of the great works of the 20th century and one of the most romantically appealing. Prokofiev is at his most romantic in the four movements, whose many melodies hearken to his “Romeo and Juliet” score. The orchestra got a big sound with an often thrilling degree of passion. Peltz cued precisely and phrased strongly. Secondary voices were emphasized and the brass section, led by the terrific principal trumpeter, Greg Smith, shone.

The audience responded with an audible gasp of excited amazement at its conclusion. The second movement with its wicked glee was very quick and showed off the orchestra’s good ensemble work. Pitch wasn’t nailed down in the third movement with its soaring pathos and long ominous underpinnings but climaxes were built well. The final movement with its strong forward momentum concluded brilliantly.

As an interesting contrast, the first part of the program was devoted to J. S. Bach’s Suite in B minor for flute and strings. Principal flutist Yvonne Hansbrough, supported by 11 string players and a harpsichordist, gave a solid but sometimes breathless reading. Tempos for many of the seven sections seemed extremely fast, even pushed. This didn’t bother the strings who didn’t have to breathe.

The opening Overture was rushed rather than stately with clipped endings and broken phrases. Hansbrough’s round tone and tasteful ornamentation shone in the Sarabande and the Bouree was perky. Her duet with principal cellist Jameson Platte was also quite good.

Categories: Life and Arts

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