A Night in Old Vienna
Beethoven – Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op, 68 “Pastorale”
Brahms – Tragic Overture, Op. 81
J. Strauss, Jr. – Du und Du Waltz from “Die Fledermaus”
J. Strauss, Sr. – Radetzky March
This concert, dedicated to Old Vienna and its wonderful composers, was prefaced with remarks by Principle French horn player Bruce Kovacs’ description of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, The Pastoral. “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one symphony, this would be the one!” As Maestro Bair and the orchestra re-traced Beethoven’s symphonic footsteps through the Vienna countryside, it became evident that many in the audience thoroughly agreed with Kovacs’ sentiments. Beethoven created in this master work a range of melodies and dynamic interplay of instruments that has rarely been equaled by anyone past or present; which likely accounted for the wonderful reception it received from the audience.
Following a brief intermission, Maestro Bair led the orchestra in Brahms’s Tragic Overture, OP81. Premiered in 1880 in Vienna, Brahms’s principle goal with the work was to convey to and elicit from its listeners emotional impressions, which in this respect, he was most successful. Maestro Bair’s interpretation of this most turbulent work was quite profound as he artfully mixed tempo and dynamic changes into a memorable performance.
For the concert conclusion, and in keeping with the “Old Vienna” theme, there of course had to be Strauss. Maestro Bair treated the audience to two fine examples of Strauss compositions , one each from Junior and Senior, as the orchestra performed The Du and Du Waltz (Strauss the younger) and the unofficial anthem of Vienna and Austria, the Radetzky March (Strauss the elder). Both were warmly received by the audience, and the Radetzky march was, of course, accompanied by audience hand clapping and overall delight.