Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra Concert, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, Lowman Concert Hall
Scott Hosfeld, guest conductor
Sheng-Chieh Jason Lan, viola (in the Hindemith)
Liliya Milcheva, violin (in the Tchaikovsky)
“Der Schwanendreher for Viola and Orchestra: Movement I: “Zwischen Berg und tiefen Tal,” Paul Hindemith
“Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Opus 35, Movement III: Finale (Allegro vivacissimo),” Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
“Czech Suite, Opus 39,” Antonin Dvorak
The recently completed Lowman Concert Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus continues to be a source of sonic amazement as well as a functional musical environment, as this past Saturday’s event proved to more than this particular reviewer. With a more than three-quarter capacity audience, both sound and sight potentials were fulfilled, and noted Guest Conductor Scott Hosfeld stood up quite well in those particular surroundings.
It was particularly impressive to this listener how the hall manages to integrate the various orchestral sounds required from the composer’s wishes, and the first two program items served as instructive examples for sound production as well as integration.
The Hindemith excerpt — the first movement of the four-part work — emphasized the lower strings and winds, and Mr. Lan’s viola solos stood out well enough against this background, as well as in contrast to harpist Allison Allport’s part.
Mr. Hosfeld made a point of his overall prowess on the podium by his understated gestures and orchestral cues; a facet which also came to fore in the final movement of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, where both motion and emotion can sometimes overtake any musical consideration.
Ms. Milcheva’s run through the score’s contrasting moods was never at odds with the orchestral background (and particularly the playing of the four horns required by the composer), and a very satisfying overall effect was perpetuated, generally by Mr. Hosfeld’s knowledge of what needed to be brought to the auditor’s attention at the right moment. Fortunately, the hall’s acoustics were more than usually cooperative in that effort.
But it was in the final five-part “Czech Suite” of Dvorak that the conductorial gifts really became obvious. With the tempo variations of each dance-like movement, Mr. Hosfeld displayed a technique that was instantly communicated to the full orchestral complement, and the musical response was equally demonstrated, particularly in the work’s more lively sections (the final “furiant” section was exemplary in its concluding vigor). But even in the quieter parts, Conductor Hosfeld’s rather subdued method worked wonders, with the hall’s sonic possibilities well on display.
And while the orchestra’s members await regeneration (the departing seniors were all given well-deserved accolades, prior to the playing of the Dvorak), and even more guest conductors and performers are waiting in the building’s backstage (figuratively speaking), Lowman Hall renews its promise as more than a symbolic structure and as a welcome addition to Idyllwild’s musical community.