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The music director/conductor of our local symphony seems to want to inject some life to symphony concerts which to some may appear moribund. This year, the basic theme of the season is called “Musical Stories.”

In Sunday’s concert, the second concert of 2014-2015 season, the theme was Romeo and Juliet. The symphony played Vincenzo Bellini’s Overture to I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. The guest soloist performance was on double-bass. Though I do not know how Concertino for Double Bass, Op.45 is related to the concert’s theme, it was wonderful to hear a double-bass solo. (I suspect that the program has been conceived without considering the guest performance.)

The music director added something quite different from other concerts this time. He added short scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as well as a modern version of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, performed by actors from a local theater troop. I am not quite sure if this melding of music and drama was successful, but I think the director’s desire to create differences, departing from the so-called “same ole” concert format was inspiring and praise-worthy.

In this second concert of the season, I was impressed by the performance of the percussionists when the symphony played West Side Story; it was gallant.

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” – Walter Pater “The School of Giorgione”

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