11 July 2018

The fifth concert of the Concepción Symphony Orchestra season was filled with references to the city’s musical history. This program celebrated the 66 years of continuous work by the orchestra, which gave its inaugural concert on 3 July 1952. Moreover, tribute was paid to Mr. César López for his 50 years as diligent prop-man and assistant, and to Mr. Francisco Arroyo, former Symphony concertmaster, who recently passed away.

The first part of the program performed under the baton of Maestro Francisco Rettig (Associate Principal Conductor) was devoted exclusively to Mozart. Both in Idomeneo’s Overture as in the Concerto No. 21, the conductor emphasized the elegance of style and the smoothness of textures rather than the vitality and incisiveness preferred by the historically-informed approaches. The Chilean-Korean soloist Liza Chung gave a finely nuanced performance with very good taste in the elaboration of the short “lead-ins”, as well as in both cadenzas, based on Paul Badura-Skoda’s. The acclaimed performance of Maestra Chung brought another connection with local history: her debut as a soloist with an orchestra was precisely with the Concepción Symphony Orchestra in a Young Talents concert in 1990.

Another connection with the local history was the immaculate performance of the “Obertura para el Teatro Integral” (“Overture for the Nature Theater”), a short piece by Miguel Aguilar, a major composer from our city who reached national renown for his extensive work as a creator and educator, developed over the second half of the 20th century. Then, Maestro Rettig and the Concepción Symphony unleashed all the orchestral color of Stravinsky’s “Russian period” in a performance of Firebird’s ballet suite where musicians from all the instrumental families shined both collectively and individually. In the middle of this work, the famous “Infernal Dance of Katscheï” burst in with all the possible spectacularity and had to be repeated at the end, as the apotheosis of this much-applauded anniversary concert.