* Notes *
New Century Chamber Orchestra began the 2011-2012 season with a program entitled "Carmen Revisited," including works from Bloch, Mendelssohn, and Shchedrin. The first performance last night in Berkeley commenced with Bloch's Concerto Gross for String Orchestra with Piano Obbligato, the pianist in this case being Miles Graber. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the rest of the musicians sounded strong without being overly pretty. NCCO certainly has a lot of vigor, in any case. The second piece, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in D minor, featured NCCO'S former Music Director, Stuart Canin (pictured above, photograph courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle). Canin's playing is perhaps imprecise, but his phrasing has its appeal. After the intermission came Shchedrin's Carmen Suite. Again, the ensemble played forcefully, and the principal second violinist even broke a string in the second movement. The musicians seemed to relish the fortissmo parts of the music.
* Tattling *
There was a lot of street noise during the second half of the performance. At some point an audience member in the balcony got fed up and closed one of the windows.