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Sep 26, 2004 - Conductor Kuchar, Violinist Cerovsek, Reno Chamber Orchestra thrill in season opener
By Jack Neal
From a brooding, petulant, haunting performance of Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony, through a vibrant, luminous rendering of Haydn's Symphony No. 92, to a thrilling, technically brilliant, yet enormously lyrical reading of Beethoven's one and only and great violin concerto, the opening concert of the Reno Chamber Orchestra's new season was one superb achievement after another.
Moved and thrilled by violinist Corey Cerovsek's sumptuous and virtuosic playing, the capacity audience that filled Nightingale Concert Hall last Saturday night (9/25/04) gave a standing ovation that was heartfelt, instantaneous and fully deserved.
Deserving most of all, in spite of Cerovsek's stunning musical and technical accomplishments, is the orchestra's conductor, Theodore Kuchar. Now in his second season with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, this maestro is doing great things here. Playing with a robust, rich sound and enviable precision the orchestra is living up to its conductor's demands. Best of all, perhaps, the RCO's is not just another pretty sound. Kuchar's interpretations are fresh, revealing and thrilling. Audience members love what they hear; and that's what makes the orchestral world go 'round.
The Shostakovich is one of the composer's most profound musical statements. Kuchar's vision for the work is one of high drama. Its many moments of pathos, especially the melodies so plaintively shaped by violinist Phillip Ruder and sweetly played by cellist Peter Lenz, were sensitive, transporting encounters with the ruthless world of the Soviets Shostakovich knew all too well. In Kuchar's scheme of things, the Shostakovich's angry outbursts were balanced with a repose of calm that created a startling musical reality. The energy of Shostakovich's writing was matched by Kuchar's subtle, and sometimes brutal, revelations of the composer's thematic and textural materials for a gripping interpretation.
Haydn's Symphony No. 92 in G Major was given a vivacious run for its money by both orchestra and conductor. Kuchar took command of this familiar masterwork energizing every nuance and phrase, with some visceral accent there or arresting turn of a phrase there, that made the Haydn lighter than air and an absolute delight.
The remarkable abilities of violinist Corey Cerovsek and keen insights of Kuchar brought Beethoven's monumental violin concerto to a larger-than-life realization that was intimate, luxurious and grand.
At 32, Cerovsek brings vitality and athleticism to the Beethoven, while imbuing the concerto with a rare warmth and loads of depth. He executes runs with stroboscopic evenness and clarity. He also plays Beethoven's elegant melodies with unerring musicality. He is one of those rare young musicians who has it all - superb musicianship, a gorgeous, liquid sound and a magnetic presence. Cerovsek and Kuchar's take on Beethoven was captivating. Captivating, too, was Cerovsek's sublimely played encore, the slow movement from J.S. Bach's unaccompanied C Major Violin Sonata.
Tucked happily in that lofty stratosphere of music fans experiencing performances worthy of the finest concert halls in the world, on Saturday night Reno concertgoers were in grand company. Theodore Kuchar has the kind of talent that makes world-class concertgoing possible. Hopefully he'll be on board as conductor of the Reno Chamber Orchestra for a very long time.
The next Reno Chamber Orchestra concert will be October 23 (2004) and will feature pianist Fabio Bidini. All Reno Chamber Orchestra subscription concerts are played at Nightingale Concert Hall, 900 North Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada. For information call 775-348-9413.
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