Boca Symphonia Grows and Grows
By Skip Sheffield
Slowly, surely and quietly a world-class orchestra has been growing in Boca Raton.
The second concert of the tenth season of the Symphonia of Boca Raton Jan. 11 was simply superb. Guest director Gerard Schwartz led the Symphonia through an exquisite rendition of Richard Strauss’s Selections from Divertimento for Small Orchestra, op. 86. Accentuating the composition was the fine oboe work by Jeffrey Apanana and Erika Yamada.
The biggest treat came when Gerard Schwarz introduced the guest soloist: his son Julian Schwartz. Schwartz junior is simply one of the finest cellists in the world today. His playing on Camille Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1 was heavenly, transporting the audience to a higher plane. A note on the Boca Symphonia audience; they are the most knowledgeable and well-behaved group of music lovers I have seen in South Florida. This audience knows quality. After a standing ovation they wouldn’t let Julian Schwartz leave the stage. After three curtain calls Schwartz returned with his instrument, sat down, and ripped off a cello solo that explored every possibility of that wonderful, sonorous instrument.
After intermission we were treated to a beautiful performance of Gustav Mahler’s “What the Wild Flowers Tell Me,” arranged by Benjamin Britten.
The concert’s climax was Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No. 1 in four movements, building and receding, building and receding until the crescendo of the Adagio climax.
There were a number of younger people, mostly from Lynn University’s Conservatory of Music, at the first Symphonia concert. This time the audience was overwhelmingly senior citizen. I hope some younger music lovers get hip to the fact classical musical can really be cool.
The next Boca Symphonia concert is Sunday, Feb. 22 in the Roberts Theatre of St. Andrew’s School. On the podium will be former resident conductor Alexander Platt for a program of Prokofiev, Mozart, Glass and Bizet. Call 866-MUSIC-01 (866-687-4201) or go to www.thesymphonia.org.
Sunshine Music & Blues Festival
And now for music of a completely different sort, we have the third annual Sunshine Music & Blues Festival this Sunday, Jan. 18 at Mizner Park Amphitheater. Nine groups will play on two stages. In order of appearance they are Sean Chambers at noon; Matt Schofield at 12:35 p.m.; Los Lobos at 1:25; The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) at 2:35 p.m.; Chris Robinson Brotherhood at 3:45 p.m.; Rebirth Blues Band at 4:35 p.m.; Grace Potter at 6:05 p.m.; Robbie Krieger on The Doors at 7:15 p.m. and headliners and hosts Tedeschi Trucks Band at 8:30 p.m.
In case you are wondering what happened to Dickey Betts, I am told he pulled out due to a “family emergency.” Tickets are $49.50 at the gate. Call 800-745-3000 or go to www.livenation.com.