Classical Music Alive and Well in Boca Raton
By Skip Sheffield
Boca Symphonia rocks!
No, really. The Symphonia Boca Raton plays classical music, but they are not your grandmother’s orchestra.
Violinist David Kim was on the podium for the first concert of the Symphonia’s tenth season, Dec. 21 at Roberts Theatre, St. Andrew’s School. Kim is concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra; a post he has held since 1999. Kim conducts with his violin, not a baton. I couldn’t help but notice he did not have sheet music but an Ipad. Later he told the audience that he has gotten with the program and moved from printed paper to electronic device. This does not mean Kim rejects the past. He plays a 1757 Guarneri violin owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra. He cheerfully admits it is worth more than $1 million. I love it when musicians talk about their instruments. Guarneri is second only to Stradivarius in value and mystique. In Kim’s hands it doesn’t really matter. He is a master player, as he so readily demonstrated in the first selection of a Baroque program: Corelli’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8. Big it was, indeed.
Even more of a treat was J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, featuring Mei Mei Luo toe-to-toe with David Kim.
The music of J.S. Bach is devilishly complex, but to Kim and Luo it was child’s play. In addition to being a fine player, Luo throws her whole body into expressing the music, which reminds us there is so substitute for hearing music live.
Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” is what music snobs like to call a “warhorse.” I’ll get up on that horse and ride it any time, as the Boca Symphonia made as fresh as it was when composed in 1717.
People worry about the decline of classical music. The good news is it is alive and well and living in Boca Raton. The next concert is Jan. 11, with Gerard Schwarz on the podium and a program of Strauss, Saint-Saens, Mahler/Britten and the mighty Beethoven. Call 866-687-1201 or go to www.thesympnonia.org.