Tifereth Israel community orchestra’s postponed concert was worth the wait
LA JOLLA, Calif. — The Strings of TICO, the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra, had to postpone their concert, originally scheduled for last November, to February, due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The program finally took place at the First Methodist Church in Chula Vista on February 6, and then at the Cohen Social Hall of the Tifereth Israel Synagogue on February 8.
The concert featured the strings, with an electronic harpsichord added for Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #3 and a timpani added for that of Turina The Prayer of the Totero. These instrumentalists, unlike the brass and woodwinds, could play while masked.
The extra months of rehearsal allowed this concert to be played with extra polish and precision. There were five violinists in the first violin section and six in the second, six violas, five cellos and three basses, and the ensemble played with strength and subtlety. With good intonation, strong overtones were generated resulting in a boosted and focused sound that projected well.
the Brandenburg Concerto was played with forward moving energy, each section holding its own. In the Serenade No. 6 in D major of Mozart, the four soloists, principal violin Bryce Newall, principal second Jenee Wallace, principal violist Franklin Au and principal double bass Jim Lewis performed their parts with confidence.
The Oración Del Torero (The Bullfighter’s Prayer) was a welcome addition to the 20th century. The seven-minute work opened with an impressive mystery. Flamenco themes marked its Spanish origin with brilliant cellos and violas.
After the intermission, the Serenade for Strings in C by Tchaikovsky occupied the entire second half of the program. Its four movements are even harder to play than a symphony because, as conductor David Amos explained, in a symphony the strings often have rests when the winds and brass are playing, but in this work, there is almost no rest for any of the string sections.
The choir Andante non-troppo opened with an exclamatory impression. All movements were marked by notable dynamic contrasts. A strong vibrato helped give the serenade a warm patina, especially in the melancholy Élégie. The Finale’s Russian folk melody brought the concert to a joyous conclusion.
The repertoire selected for this concert covers the five major periods of orchestral music, from the Baroque period to the Classical period, from the Romantic period to the 20th century. With the exception of Joaquin Turina’s work, all of the other selections were familiar to most classical music viewers. It was heartwarming to return to a gig with familiar musician friends after most of us suffered from a dearth of live music during these pandemic years.
The 50 people who attended Tifereth Israel’s performance, all masked, as were the performers, were well rewarded with one of TICO’s most remarkable concerts in 47 years. TICO is now in its 48th season. Congratulations to its talented conductor and faithful musicians!
Eileen Wingard, a retired violinist from the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, is a freelance writer specializing in arts coverage. She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org