~By Norm Robins~
The Reno Chamber Orchestra opens its 2019/20 season Saturday, October 19th at 7:30 PM and Sunday, October 20th at 2 PM under the baton of its second candidate for permanent conductor Donato Cabrera. They will choose from the 6 finalist candidates in the Spring of 2020.
Conductor Cabrera is familiar with Reno. He grew up here and graduated from UNR. He says, “Returning to my home town as a music director candidate for the orchestra with which I made my professional debut is a circle that I never envisioned closing. In this regard it’s almost better than a dream come true!”
He constructed this program along the usual line—overture, concerto, and symphony. He also crafted it to feature another longtime Reno resident and Reno native violinist Helen Kim.
The opening overture is Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll that he composed as a birthday present to his wife Cosima and a celebration of the birth of their son Siegfried. Cabrera says, “But what is this piece? Is it an overture? A tone-poem? A symphonic miniature? You could easily call it any one of these things but, for me, it is simply a musical expression of a very joyous and idyllic time between two people who were happy and in love.” It is music that is melodic and beautiful. It is a walk in the woods or on a country road or along a seashore.
Kim will solo with the Orchestra performing Samuel Carl Adams’ Chamber Concerto for Violin and Ensemble composed in 2018. The composer is her husband. The piece was hailed as “hypnotic, endlessly varied and natural” by Classical Voice America and music of “allusive subtlety and ingenuity” by the Chicago Tribune. Cabrera describes the Chamber Concerto as being, “first and foremost an exploration of expression, deconstructing musical terms to their essence in order to communicate feeling and emotion, rather than form and function.”
Finally, they will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Each of their six interview concerts will have a Beethoven piece so as to better contrast conductors. Conductor Cabrera will get to conduct one of the best.
We are fortunate that Beethoven was ailing in 1811. He took his doctor’s advice and convalesced in the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz. It refreshed his health and spirits. He was isolated from the Napoleonic Wars raging all around him at the time. Free of this tumult, he started a new symphony shortly thereafter, his first in three years, Symphony No. 7.
Wagner describes it as “All tumult, all yearning and storming of the heart, become here the blissful insolence of joy, which carries us away with bacchanalian power through the roomy space of nature, through all the streams and seas of life, shouting in glad self-consciousness as we sound throughout the universe the daring strains of this human sphere-dance. The Symphony is the Apotheosis of the Dance itself: it is Dance in its highest aspect, the loftiest deed of bodily motion, incorporated into an ideal mold of tone.”
The Second Movement is especially popular. At the Symphony’s premier it had to be played twice, the audience was so taken with it. Here is a video clip from Cabrera’s Website:
The Reno Chamber Orchestra performs at the Nightingale Hall in the Church Fine Arts Building on the UNR campus. Ticket and other information can be obtained at https://renochamberorchestra.org/.