Last weekend the Kennett Symphony with guest artist Thomas Pandolfi (pianist) created a magical evening. Its not often that after a concert finishes the audience does not leave but stays around talking to friends and strangers about the concert.
The evening opened with a greeting from the new symphony president, Timothy Murnane. He gave particular thanks to retiring President Paul Merluzzi who guided the symphony for “7 years of a 2-year term” and to Emeriti Board member John Yeatman whose efforts made the performance in Kennett of pianist Thomas Pandolfi possible.
In a “pre-show” preview Musical Director Michael Hall gave information about the program to be performed both the music and the star pianist.
The opening number “Lament and Primeval” by Canadian composer Harry Somers who is a well known and respected composer in Canada.
Somers describes his style for this category of his music “without consideration for any limitations, sometimes completely experimentally, sometimes extending the line of a particular direction on which I had been working” and is based on a previous piano piece “Three Sonnets”.
After the opening with this piece, director Hall began the popular. Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninoff with guest pianist Thomas Pandolfi whom everyone had come to hear.
Pandolfi has a fast rising reputation as a guest soloist. He in conjunction with Hall were able to create a “perfect” performance with one another. They infused the music with humanity and emotion as they slid from sharp emphatic points to soft melodies and frenetic precise playing. As several of the themes in the piece is well known and loved. Thomas plays what sounds like 14 notes at one time which would be difficult to do with only 10 fingers but in true Rachmaninoff fashion it was a true and exciting performance.
He received a well deserved standing ovation and returned the favor to the audience by playing a version of number from Phantom of the opera developed by himself in the style of Rachmaninoff.
It was incredible!
This was followed by a superb rendition by the orchestra of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5. This beautifully rendered piece would have been a “star” in any program it was not the piece the audience came out talking about.
We overheard people in the audience form Philadelphia who were comparing this presentations of Rachmaninoff’s No. 2 with a recently done one by the Philadelphia Orchestra. In this one Kennett won (Hurrah for our team)
If you ae not taking advantage of what the Kennett Symphony offers, you are missing out “Big Time”.