The concert was super despite these little hitches. Violist Choong-Jin Chang and pianist Amy J. Yang started the night with Elegy by Glazunov, followed by the dramatic Rebecca Clarke Sonata. This was probably the first time that many had heard this piece and judging from the applause, it was a hit. An audience member commented that Clarke would enter competitions under a pseudonym because she didn't stand a chance entering as a woman.
The Paganini Guitar Quartet no. 15 started the second half. Performers CJ Chang, Jason Vieaux, Efe Baltacigil and Josef Spacek had a blast with this piece. You could see the audience moving along with the music, and there were smiles all around each time the guys got carried away with the exuberance of the music.
Brandenburg Concerto no. 6 concluded the concert with a full stage. Cellists Natalie Helm and Efe Baltacigil were on stage right, Amy J. Yang on piano in the center, cellist John Koen and bassist Joseph Conyers on stage left, and CJ Chang and William Frampton were front and center. The stage just barely held the musicians and this well-known Bach concerto for two violas was a real crowd-pleaser. The recurring themes make the music easy to follow and the solo lines were tossed all around the stage, giving the audience a good listen to the ensemble and the individual players as well. A standing ovation concluded the performance. Ah, Bach!
We had the largest opening night audience in the series' three year history. If we had held a hand count, we would have seen a lot of violists, violinists and cellists in the audience. In addition, our regular subscribers were out in full force and many invited their friends through our new Share the Music program. Several newcomers commented on this newly-discovered gem of music in South Jersey. Everybody raved about the music itself and the talented performers. One person compared our concert to an excellent concert she had attended in Italy. From the engaged performers to the appreciative audience, it looked like we all had fun. As CJ remarked when he heard about the stranded players, "It's going to be a great concert, because in the face of adversity people always give even more energy." And it was and they did.