Review: Orlando Philharmonic’s Mendelssohn mashup program, with lighting effects

Posted on: January 19, 2018

“We were all in uncharted waters for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s latest Focus Series concert at The Plaza Live,” writes Matthew J. Palm in Wednesday’s (1/17) Orlando Sentinel (Florida). “Music director Eric Jacobsen’s ‘An Evening with the Mendelssohns’ program separated symphonic movements, interspersing other works with them…. A more theatrical lighting design, by Cole NeSmith, added additional dramatic effect. The lights had mixed success, but the musicians’ playing was applause-worthy, ovation-worthy even…. Jacobsen showed real flair in curating this emotional collection of music from Felix Mendelssohn, his sister Fanny, Leos Janácek and Jean Sibelius.… The segue from the second movement of Mendelssohn’s ‘Scottish’ Symphony No. 3 to Sibelius’ ‘Valse triste’ in particular felt both natural and divinely inspired. The orchestra [gave] an especially melancholy feel to the opening Notturno in G minor by Fanny Mendelssohn. Drama was provided by the staging, as well: Concertmaster Annabelle Gardiner entered from the wings, playing solo until another violin and then the lower strings joined the lovely tune…. For a first-time try, the Phil showed this avenue is worth pursuing—as long as music remains the star.”

Posted January 19, 2018