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Eclipse Chamber Orchestra Opens 20th Season

By Stephen Brookes • The Washington Post • October 24, 2011

The Eclipse Chamber Orchestra is known for bringing a sense of community to its musicmaking — interacting with its audiences in small venues, promoting young players, showcasing the work of local composers, even inviting listeners to get-togethers. That warmth was evident on Sunday at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, where the ensemble opened its 20th season with an audience-pleasing selection of pieces that ranged from a baroque obscurity to the very-much-alive music of Mark Adamo.

Sylvia AlimenaIt was fitting, in fact, that the concert opened with Adamo’s “Overture to Lysistrata” since it was Music Director Sylvia Alimena who discovered this fast-rising composer while he was a music student at Catholic University and helped launch his career.

“Overture” turned out to be a rambunctious work, full of life and noise and nonstop action — great fun, and a jolt of musical caffeine to the ears. It was followed by the Symphony in A by English baroque composer William Boyce, a slight, pleasant work saved from forgettability only by a strangely charming “hiccup” motif in the last movement.

But it was the young Australian violinist Alexandra Osborne — an ECO regular — who stole the show, soloing in Saint-Saens’s virtuosic show-off number, “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28.” Osborne has an impressive technique and tossed off the pyrotechnics with ease, though she seemed content to turn in an accurate, rather than fiery, account of this white-hot work. It would be interesting to hear her when she’s ready to pull out the stops and show us what she’s really got.

The ECO players performed with their trademark precision all afternoon, but they shone particularly brightly in a beautifully colored reading of Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A (the “Italian”). Elegantly nuanced and crisply detailed, it made a fine close to the program.

Posted on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 10:49AM by Registered CommenterStephen Brookes | CommentsPost a Comment

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