by LUKE PUTVIN
The symphony’s conductor, Michael Miropolsky, is a native of Russia and has served as principal violinist with the Moscow State Symphony. He has also performed with the Radio and Television String Quartet in several countries around the world.
The concert began with “The Snow Storm Suite,” composed by Georgy Sviridov. “He is fairly unheard of in America,” Miropolsky told the audience that evening, “But that will change after tonight.” The first movement was grand and dramatic, shifting between loud sections to quieter, subtler sections. The second movement was a waltz that began with the violins on the melody; it quieted down and the melody shifted to the woodwinds as the strings shifted to pizzicato, a technique that involves plucking the strings as opposed to using a bow. This suite had seven movements in all, and in the seventh movement, a clarinet started the melody with cellos and basses accompanying. The motif called back to an earlier movement, and the melody shifted between the violins and violas. It built to an epic scope and ended with a grand orchestral hit.
Wolfgang A. Mozart’s “Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major, K. 314” was the second piece of the evening. The orchestra welcomed guest soloist and 2017 Grammy Award winner Alexander Lipay to the stage. Lipay has performed as a soloist with many groups including the Seattle Symphony, Tucson Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
The first movement of the flute concerto was regal and upbeat. Lipay entered the piece about a minute in. He performed nimble runs and trills, and there was a call and response line between the flute and the cellos and basses. The movement ended with the entire orchestra dropping out and Lipay performing acrobatic runs on his own for about a minute. The second movement was slower and contemplative, Lipay held longer notes and boasted a wonderful vibrato. The third movement returned to a brisker pace with the soloist starting immediately. There was a call and response line similar to the first movement and the piece ended on a playful note.
After a brief intermission, the concert ended with Gustav Mahler’s roughly hour-long “Symphony No. 1 The Titan.” “Mahler was hated by musicians but loved by everyone else,” conductor Miropolsky said. The symphony was long and expansive and began with a sort of fanfare section from the clarinets while violins played one consistent sustained note for a good deal of time. The fanfare shifted to the brass and the piece continued its peaks and valleys for the rest of the hour. It included a quote of the French song Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping Brother John?) by the basses and moved onto a Klezmer-sounding section. The symphony ended with a hectic and magnificent build to a dense section which the symphony and season, ended on a grand note.
The Cascade Symphony 2019-2020 season begins on October 21, 2019 with Brahms’ Passion, featuring Amos Yang on cello. For more information about the upcoming season, check out www.cascadesymphony.org.