A quintet of brass players called Sovereign Brass plus one percussionist played a program titled “Splendor in the Brass” on June 23 at The Plaza Live Theater and they played how else? Splendidly!
The six members of the Orlando Philharmonic were celebrating their 20th year of performing together. The program was one that utilized the gifts and acuity of all its members, and was literally chosen by previous audiences — an all “old favorites” night. The program got right down to business with a truncated version of “Carmen Fantasia” played with verve and brisk tempo. Among other first-half favorites was a suite from “Phantom of the Opera,” the James Bond theme, and an arrangement of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5 featuring the excellent French horn playing of Kathy Thomas. The half ended with a rollicking version of circus music: “Entrance of the Gladiators.”
After intermission, the fun continued with, among others: the “Olympic Fanfare,” “Chariots of Fire,” and an “Armed Forces Salute.” Summoning recall of TV’s “Alfred Hitchcock Show” was his memorable Gounod theme: “Funeral March of a Marionette” featuring the Philharmonic’s nimble percussionist Mark Goldberg on the marimba. A stirringly nostalgic choice of old favorites ended the program and included: “My Funny Valentine,” “Stardust” and “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” and the immortal Benny Goodman sensation, “Sing, Sing, Sing” where percussionist Mark Goldberg brought the audience to its feet with a big drum rendition that challenged Gene Krupa himself!
My constant thought throughout the whole virtuosic evening was a recognition of the constant growth in the quality of the Orlando Philharmonic, an orchestra that can presently deliver most demanding symphonic compositions plus pull out, when needed, a soloist or solo group of enviable abilities.
The next concert of the summer season is in the same hall July 7 featuring woodwinds playing Martinu, Beethoven and Poulenc. Get your tickets early by calling 407-770-0071. See you there!