The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
VSO@Home YouTube Premiere Watch-Party

Date April 21, 2020 at 7:30pm

Featured musicians Christie Reside & Rosanne Wieranga – flutes, Roger Cole & Karin Walsh – oboes, Jenny Jonquil & Michelle Goddard – clarinets, Julia Lockhart & Gwen Seaton – bassoons, Sophie Dansereau – contrabassoon, David Haskins & Andrew Mee – french horns, J. Warren Long – double bass and Luke Wook-Young Kim – cello.

Program Richard Strauss’ Serenade for Winds opus 7 and Gioachino Rossini’s Duet for Cello and Double Bass

Reviewer John Jane

VSO@Home is an innovative music performance format that allows members of the VSO to play for an audience while on a forced hiatus as a result imposed physical restrictions caused by COVID-19. Maestro Otto Tausk introduced the YouTube event from his home in the Netherlands. Bassist J. Warren Long and clarinetist Michelle Goddard described the process of their respective collaborations.

Ms. Goddard outlined how she and eleven other musicians individually performed their parts for Strauss’ Serenade from their own homes, and then acceded to have those parts assembled and recorded as a uniform performance. Long and Kim’s duet was different in as much that they played in the same studio space, while observing appropriate physical distance.

Those familiar with the ZOOM video-conferencing application, will instantly be comfortable with how the VSO's woodwind section perform a three-and-a-minute excerpt (the entire piece is about nine minutes duration) of Richard Strauss’ Serenade for Winds. The screen is sectioned into twelve simulacrums with only those musicians producing a sound highlighted. The process may not be sophisticated, but the overall performance is, as the group coalesces into an intelligent treatment of a seventeen-year-old Straus’ rich ebb n’ flow composition.

Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer who gained fame for his magnificent operas (how many were fortunate to attend Vancouver Opera’s The Barber of Seville in February). Be that as it may, he has also been attributed to writing chamber music, some sacred music and even a fifteen minute duet for cello and double bass.

The work is cast in three movements, with an andante molto sandwiched between two charming allegros, played in its entirety by Luke Wook-Young Kim and J. Warren Long. Kim offers a virtuosic reading on the cello, and while the double bass part may seem less complex, Long delivers formidable harmonic support.

© 2020 John Jane