Saturday, Feb. 18 was the final performance of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s (HPO) celebration of Franz Joseph Haydn.
Often known as the Father of the Symphony, Haydn’s classical techniques and dance-like symphonies sparked interest in his celebrated students, Wolfgang Mozart and Muzio Clementi. Both composers were featured in the evening’s festivities.
The Hamilton Philharmonic was led by the young and animated Gemma New. The New Zealand-born conductor is celebrating her third season with the HPO this year.
The orchestra began with Haydn’s overture, The Soul of the Philosopher, or Orpheus and Euridice. With its light string melody echoed by the mighty horn section, the overture set the tone for the night’s entertainment.
Following the overture, Haydn’s student Clementi took the floor with a performance of his four-movement masterpiece, Symphony in B-flat Major.
From the top, the fast-driven strings blended impeccably with the soft melody of the woodwinds, embracing the eternal beauty of Clementi’s symphony.
A special hats-off goes to concertmaster and first violinist Lance Ouellette for his outstanding performance and leadership. Ouellette’s technique was immaculate while performing his pristine solos. He truly is a standout among the crowd.
Also to be congratulated is the bassoonist, Eric Hall. His solo performance during Mozart’s three-movement Bassoon Concerto in B-flat Major was simply spectacular.
Hall’s every breath was matched with perfection and grace as he played the 17-minute concerto standing, something only an experienced musician can accomplish.
To wrap up the musical portion of the evening, the HPO ended with Haydn’s most-popular four-piece movement, Symphony No.88 in G Major, a symphony filled with driving string melodies blended with airy woodwinds and a bold horn section.
The full house gave a well-deserved standing ovation to New and the HPO, as their flawless performance left the audience in awe.
After the performance, the audience was encouraged to participate in a follow-along lesson of Haydn’s best-known symphony taught by New and the HPO.
New and the HPO will be hosting a Ludwig Van Beethoven festival next month. For more information check out the HPO’s website.