Concert review: Orchestra inspired in opener |

Concert review: Orchestra inspired in opener

Saturday's concert features solid solos, energetic symphony

Margaret Hair

Boulder resident Ilya Goldberg rehearses Friday with the Steamboat Springs Orchestra.

— A trio of solo performances from guest violinist Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio and a spirited rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 made for a smooth opening night for the Steamboat Springs Orchestra’s 2009-10 season Saturday at Strings Music Pavilion.

Sant’Ambrogio and her father, John, who is the orchestra’s principal cellist, started the program with their first public performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto in B-flat Major for Violin, Cello and Orchestra.

The orchestra appropriately laid back for most of the piece, lightly complementing the Sant’Ambrogios’ natural similarities in playing style. There aren’t too many hints on how loud to play and when in the classical sheet music of Vivaldi’s time; that had no impact on the easy interchanges between the featured violinist and cellist, who gave a seamless performance.

On Franz Schubert’s Konzertstuck in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio gave a strong interpretation of the classical piece. For Fritz Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois, the guest soloist breezed through the choppiest patches of the virtuoso piece with what seemed to be technical ease.

While the first part of the program was solid, the biggest wave of energy on the night came with the last movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, a section SSO Music Director Ernest Richardson described in a program break as pure joy. The rest of the group must have agreed, offering a rendition of that last movement that filled the Strings Music Pavilion with sound for the first time in the concert program.

Richardson has a definite gift for giving the audience access points to classical music, and he did that with quick, sometimes humorous descriptions of each movement in the symphony. It gives the listener something to look for and hold on to, and reminds the audience that classical composers had more interesting inspiration to their music than we might remember.

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With each concert, the Steamboat Springs Orchestra shows its ability to tap into more and more of that inspiration.

The group has three more concerts with $20-per-person advance ticket prices and two fancier soirees scheduled for the season, with classical repertoire standpoint pieces such as Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 on the program lists. For more information about the 2009-10 season, go to

– To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail

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