Evaluation: DeKalb Symphony continues to blossom below Paul Bhasin’s baton

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The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra’s 2022 fall run has been a proving floor of types for the fledgling orchestra. The season opened in September with a powerful efficiency below the command of new music director Paul Bhasin and the nice and cozy glow of his signature appeal.

On Tuesday night within the Marvin Cole Auditorium on the Perimeter Faculty of Georgia State College’s Clarkston Campus, the symphony returned for its second efficiency below the brand new conductor. With that got here the chance to see if the ensemble would proceed to gel properly collectively below Bhasin’s new management. It was clear by the capability crowd that native enthusiasm for the orchestra stays sturdy.

The live performance started with Georges Bizet’s “L’Arlésienne” Suite No. 2. The product of an unsuccessful collaboration between Bizet and playwright Alphonse Daudet, the 2 suites survive as a soundtrack compilation of types. It was a shaky opener — the anthemic first motion, “Pastorale,” leans closely on accentuations from the horn part and there was one thing unfocused and warbly within the opening strains. The second motion, “Intermezzo,” fared higher with its cheerful, adventurous tone that referred to as to thoughts the early works of Koji Kondo.

All through the opening actions of “L’Arlésienne,” there was an odd dramatic stress between the horns and strings — doubtless a carryover from Daudet’s authentic story, which offers with the agony of unrequited love. Regardless of the case, an eye-of-the-storm second emerges within the third motion, “Menuet,” which featured a delicate and charming dialogue between harp and flute. 

Principal flutist Kathy Farmer deserves specific distinction. The motion was calm, wistful and pastoral, however nonetheless endowed with melodic runs of formidable virtuosity. For an orchestra nonetheless very a lot within the throes of transition, such a standout efficiency is essential and was a welcome spotlight to the night.

Paul Bhasin, the brand new music director of the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra

For all its bombastic attraction, “L’Arlésienne” paled compared to the following providing, a efficiency of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Main. It featured a visitor look by violinist Jessica Wu, a founding member of the acclaimed Vega Quartet, which is in residence at Emory College.

Bach casts an extended shadow throughout the canon of classical music and amongst his huge array of accomplishments is a novel capability to write down an attractive featured-instrument concerto. 

Many main composers use their concertos for a show of senseless solo virtuosity that’s solely sometimes accentuated by the bigger ensemble. Bach, then again, wrote jovial, participating melody all through the work that bounced cheerfully off an omnipresent ensemble accompaniment.

Wu had ample alternative to show her appreciable chops within the context of a enjoyable, upbeat composition that by no means overpassed the melody. The piece appeared to go by in a flash, bookended by the epic grandiosity of the primary and third actions. It was the standout efficiency of the night time. The DSO has executed properly to complement its seasonal performances with a bevy of visitor expertise that not solely elevates the standard of its concert events however additional permits the symphony to rub shoulders with native musical luminaries.

The night’s third and closing piece was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, op. 64. Written across the theme of “destiny” and serving as a research within the composer’s personal grappling with future versus free will, the work is unnervingly ominous and moribund in its opening motion — an uncommon selection for a composer so typically given to the euphoric and eccentric. 

That unorthodox opening, with its funeral-dirge tempo and brooding angst, allowed the orchestra to place its greatest foot ahead and lean on their assured string part. Tchaikovsky was all the time a strings man in the beginning and his option to play to his personal strengths allowed the orchestra to play to theirs.

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 covers super floor however builds slowly at a sober and deliberate tempo that offered the symphony with a chance to reintroduce every of its sections in a fashion that was in the end satisfying — a redemption of types for any weak performances within the opening Bizet.

The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, after seeing turmoil lately when it was with out each an government director and music director, has now stabilized and is a promising orchestra. Bhasin has charismatic management and skillful conducting, and the orchestra has Alan Hopper as government director. 

There may be all the time a way of a low ceiling with this orchestra since most of its musicians are volunteer. However it’s heartening to listen to the orchestra get the perfect out of what it has, and to be elevated with visitor performers similar to Wu.


Jordan Owen started writing about music professionally on the age of 16 in Oxford, Mississippi. A 2006 graduate of the Berklee Faculty of Music, he’s knowledgeable guitarist, bandleader and composer. He’s presently the lead guitarist for the jazz group Different Strangers, the ability steel band Axis of Empires and the melodic dying/thrash steel band Century Spawn.


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