Orchestra, Soloist Shine in Season Opener

ORONO — As the oldest community symphony in the United States, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra opened its 116th season Saturday evening at the Collins Center for the Arts.

Maestro Lucas Richman was on the podium.

There were several changes in the evening’s format, the first that it was on a Saturday evening instead of the usual Sunday afternoon. The orchestra was scheduled for a Pops Concert on Sept. 11. Succeeding concerts will be on Sunday afternoon, as always.

Maestro Richman cordially welcomed the audience and explained a bit about the music to be heard. He expressed deep appreciation for the anonymous donors who made the soloist possible. However, it was a bit unusual that no one from the Orchestra Board or management appeared in the role of community representative to inaugurate the season. The traditional playing of “The Star- Spangled Banner” at the first concert was also omitted.

A major change was evident from the moment the players entered. There was a new seating configuration and it worked! The entire orchestra was placed within and back of the proscenium arch. A small difference, perhaps, but acoustically very effective.

Next, imagine the string sections arranged clockwise around the podium. First violins on the conductor’s left, violas next, celli next (with their wooden bellies facing straight out) and second violins on the conductor’s right. Basses in their customary spot.

It had a magical effect. The viola sound was richer, the cello tone bloomed and the second violins held their own, balancing the firsts much better than when they were bedfellows.

Then picture the brass. Instead of being strung out all across the back of the stage, the trumpets and trombones occupied a short top row and the horns clustered in front of them.

The woodwinds were similarly drawn in with the total result being a deeper, more cohesive wind section. When the first notes of Mozart’s Overture to Cosi fan tutte sounded, there was a sit-up-straight reaction. The music is delightful anyway, a mood setter for the composer’s comedy on female fickleness, but it had an effervescence that sparkled in a new reverberation mode. Kudos to the acoustician.

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Fenceviewer Staff

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