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A Little Night Music

David Rentz introduces himself.

By Michael Buss, 2011-09-25
Everybody loves music by Mozart and Haydn! So what a fine combination with which to open the 2011-12 season by the Orange County Symphony.

This opening concert (September 25th at Servite) also introduced to us the newly appointed maestro Dr. David Rentz, who must be congratulated for putting the program together at somewhat short notice. His boyish looks and apparent nervousness at the microphone belie his many skills and accomplishments which we detailed in a previous article. His style is economical and precise. His smiles to the musicians encourage them at the end of each movement.

The OC Symphony comes in many configurations depending on the demands of the music. And this occasion brought to us the chamber orchestra. Numbering only about 16 musicians, seated in a semi-circle, they can all see and hear each other. It’s an intimate experience. The closer an audience can sit the better. It’s so much easier to pick out and follow the solo moments, or contrapuntal lines when two or more instruments serenade together with distinct, identifiable melodies.

First of the evening was Mozart’s well loved Eine kleine Nachtmusik. One of the regular cognoscenti commented that he’d heard this many times, and this was defintely one of the better performances.

The less well known Serenade for Winds in C minor, again by Mozart, gives scope for brass and woodwinds to mix it up with dazzling finger work and powerful dynamics.

Haydn followed the intermission – Symphony No. 8 in G (“Le Soir”). Here again the intimacy of the chamber music was a sheer delight. Concert master Seung-Ji Chung gave a confident lead. Esther Chu’s cello was so perfect in sent shivers up your spine, and it was fun to watch bassist Chris Hornung bridging some of the transitions with such elegance.

This time the Symphony provided concert-goers with programs, listing the entire season ahead, the orchestra roster and program notes on each piece. Bravo!

At the close of the performance the board of the Symphony eagerly clustered round their new conductor to pose for photographs.

Kathy Shoemake, Carol Latham, Music Director David Rentz, Dorothy Rose, Barbee Heiny and Michael Anderson.

The audience was not as good as I would have hoped. Clearly there will have to be some hard work to build the numbers up again. Perhaps the Halloween concert entitled The Spooky and the Sublime will help to do that. And of course we look forward to many more fine performances led by David Rentz.



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