Letter: Story of a Berkshire Symphony concert
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I am always interested in the insightful comments Eagle music critic Andrew Pincus offers to your readership. After reading his latest review of our Berkshire Symphony concert on Friday, Nov. 22 I am compelled to add my thoughts to his account of the concert.
The headline "The JFK connection" was a clever metaphor for the Ravel "Tombeau de Couperin" and the Brahms 4th Symphony, both connected to tragedy in different ways. Although that pairing was intentional for a concert on Nov. 22, the date of the Kennedy assassination, it was a small part of the story of the concert.
The story of this concert and every concert by the Berkshire Symphony is one about commitment, hard work and the love of music. The effort these fine professionals and talented students put in to play their best is truly special. I look through the orchestra while conducting and see musicians happy to be playing with colleagues of similar values and blessed to be playing great repertoire in a fine orchestra.
There was so much praise to go around throughout the evening. Our strings sounded glorious! They played with a rich sound led by our outstanding string principals. Our principal winds took turns to shine throughout the evening.
Two musicians in particular stood out, playing the most iconic solos in the entire orchestral canon; principal oboe, Carl Jenkins and acting principal flute, Ceora Jaffe. Carl, the longest tenured member of the Berkshire Symphony, was the oboe soloist in the Ravel. This piece is the pinnacle of orchestral compositions for the oboe. Carl has waited all of his professional life to play the Ravel. He played beautifully! It was worth the wait. It is always a pleasure to hear the oboe played with so keen a sense of intonation and with such a beautiful sound.
The flute solo in the final movement of the Brahms is pehaps the most famous of them all. Jaffe was the excellent soloist. Her tone and her sense of musical motion was magical.
I feel very fortunate to be the music director of the Berkshire Symphony. Over the years we have built an organization of artist associates, area professionals, and students, who consistently give maximum effort, who don't shy away from the most challenging repertoire ("Rite of Spring," Brahms 4th), and who place great value in the Berkshire Symphony experience. I thoroughly enjoyed our concert on Nov. 22. Judging by the big crowd hundreds of people went home very happy!
The writer is music director, Berkshire Symphony, artist in residence, music department at Williams College.