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Posted at 8:27 AM ET, 11/22/2010

In performance: Fairfax Symphony

By Joan Reinthaler

For a number of years, the Fairfax Symphony has been functioning comfortably at the perfectly acceptable level of many other competent county and small city orchestras. With its Saturday performance of John Adams's Violin Concerto at George Mason University's Center for the Arts, however, it moved up a notch.

Guest conductor Eckart Preu (currently conductor of the orchestras in both Spokane, Wa. and Stamford, Ct.) had the score well in hand and managed its evolving relationships with energy and clarity. The violinist Timothy Fain immersed himself in the ecstatic world of Adams's breathless lyricism with stunning and indefatigable virtuosity.

But it was the orchestra, evolving from a background of repetitive scale figures to dazzling interplays of winds and percussion and, finally, to true organic interaction with the solo line, that was so intriguing. Clicking seamlessly into Fain's lightning fast last-movement intensity, they were able to match his rhythmic drive with remarkable ensemble. Entrances sounded momentum-propelled and the winds noodled around each other with brilliant clarity.

It was clear that Fain has an affinity for this piece. For its first two movements the violin is in its own world -- a rhapsodic one expressed in the almost perpetual motion of linear activity -- and Fain's technical agility and light touch served him and the music well. He was able to communicate the music's internal rhythmic structure and to revel in its intricate language.

Rossini's Overture to "Cenerentola" was a cheerful and transparent warm-up for the concerto, and Mendelssohn's Third Symphony, the "Scottish" (featuring some excellent clarinet playing), was a cheerful and comforting cool-down.

That the audience included so many children (who stayed remarkably quiet throughout) is another indication that the Fairfax Symphony is doing its job well.

-- Joan Reinthaler

By Joan Reinthaler  | November 22, 2010; 8:27 AM ET
Categories:  Washington, local reviews  
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Good. The orchestra moved up a notch. Let's hope it stays up a notch - that's the hard part.

Posted by: pronetoviolins | November 22, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

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