In just a week or so, it will be Valentine’s Day. Last Tuesday night, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra had a love affair with Brahms -- and the audience noticed it. Never have they played, as a whole, with more passion and synchrony. The few random moments of questionable tone and departures from sync - in excess of those intended by the composer - were pardonable.
The concert opened with a splendid rendition of Johannes Brahms’ “Tragic Overture.” Far from evoking melancholy or pathos, the performance felt victorious. The body language and faces of the musicians seemed as one to whole-heartedly embrace the nuances of the romantic era masterpiece. If location, location, location is the litmus test for business growth and real estate; perhaps, selection, selection, selection is what rings true for these musicians.
Following intermission, Maestro Kirk Gustafson addressed the audience to point out unique rhythmic features of the closing piece by Brahms. “Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major,” is said to have a number of intended disturbances or interruptions of the regular rhythmic flow.
At 25 + years, the Grand Junction Symphony has finally come of age.
When local musicians begin garnering more applause than touring guests, as they did Tuesday night; it is cause to look forward to the upcoming March concert with anticipation. “American Portrait,” will include compositions by Ives, Cruz, Bernstein and Gershwin. GJSO harpist Elise Helmke will perform Deborah Henson-Conant’s “Soñando en Español” of three parts (1)My Mother’s Mexican Hat (2) Merceditas and (3) Baroque Flamenco. Baroque Flamenco on a harp -- the recapitulation sounds fabulously interesting and ear tickling.