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wcfsymphony → Past and Present

February 2, 2013 7:30 pm → Great Hall, GBPAC

Mozart – La Clemenza di Tito, March and Overture
John Harbison – Concerto for Bass Viol [2006] with Hunter Capoccioni, bass
Barber – Medea, Suite

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WCFSO, Capoccioni, Mozart & Barber collaborate on stirring, stunning evening
by Molly Cormaney
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
February 4, 2013

Those who braved the wintry weather to travel to the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra concert Saturday were well-rewarded for their efforts. It was an evening of both stirring performance and heartfelt tribute to friends of the symphony, past and present.

The evening’s selections began with Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, delightful music that flows crisply and lightly, evoking thoughts of spring. It became a personal favorite of Mozart’s widow, Constanze, who loved it better than his more famous Figaro or The Magic Flute.

Conductor Jason Weinberger paused to acknowledge the many contributions of two special friends of the WCFSO, the late Don Wendt and the late John Glascock. The concert was dedicated to the memory of these two men who had been ardent supporters of the symphony for many years.

Next, Cedar Valley native and bass soloist Hunter Capoccioni and conductor Weinberger introduced the evening’s second piece, Concerto for Bass Viol and Orchestra, a specially commissioned piece by contemporary composer John Harbison. There is a beautiful story behind the creation of this work. The commission, in honor of Capoccioni’s late father, David, was a labor of love. The wide-ranging collaboration to develop the piece, including several major orchestras from around the country, has resulted in an eclectic, mysterious and complex creation that highlights Capoccioni’s talents marvelously.

The opening movement evokes a feeling of searching. The second movement builds the suspense; there is a sense of disparate parts coming together, tentatively at first, and then with greater force. The woodwinds are particularly effective in helping build the sense of anticipation. The third and final movement is a kind of controlled frenzy of activity, with a spectacular display of the Capoccioni’s mastery of the bass. The jazz elements of the piece proved a pleasant surprise, reminding us of the musical influences found in this unique work.

The third and final selection of the evening was Samuel Barber’s Medea Suite. This seven-part rendition of the story of Medea and Jason was originally composed for the legendary choreographer Martha Graham and her company under the title Cave of the Heart. All present were grateful for conductor Weinberger’s detailed explanation and preview of each movement to help us understand how the music told the story of Medea’s betrayal and vengeance. With the context in place, we were mesmerized by the stirring rendition of this classic tale. Powerful emotions were evoked – passion, anxiety, anger, jealousy – the instruments tangled with one another as they navigated the score, a thrilling and riveting ride for everyone. In the final movement, there was a stillness – a silence in the aftermath of the violence. The effect was stunning.

Note: All reviews are edited for spelling and length