Readers chime in on ASO concert

Art Snob Blog
Courtesy ASO

Thanks to readers who shared their take on Saturday’s Anchorage Symphony Concert. As previously noted here, I couldn’t make it due to illness. But credible sources tell me that guest violin soloist Rachel Barton Pine gave Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” a performance for the ages.  saw that you weren’t able to attend the ASO concert. I was looking forward to reading your thoughts on it. 

“Pine was a fantastic soloist and as is often the case, whenever a high caliber soloist performs with the ASO, I am surprised at how much better they project and play in tune,” said one listener “in the back of the mezzanine.” 

“The ASO strings playing at their best was exquisite and not to be missed,” wrote another. “Congratulations to all the string players in the Vivaldi work — especially cellist Linda Ottum, who was often the solo accompanist in the recitativo-like sections. I was sitting way up in the balcony and every note was clear as a bell, even when orchestra was playing pianississimo!”

 “Pine gave an introduction to each of the ‘Four Seasons,’” continued the previous writer. “She described the sounds that Vivaldi used to evoke scenes and she and the orchestra would demonstrate sounds such as lightning in a storm, birdsong, or a barking dog. It broke up the four concertos in an easy to digest manner, but did come across more like a ‘Peter and the Wolf’ children’s concert. I’m not complaining though, it was still an enjoyable performance.”

Of the spoken introductions, another said they helped set the mood and “to me were not distracting.”

What I heard repeatedly was that Pine brought keen nuance and high energy to Vivaldi’s tone poems, making the familiar music appear like a well-known but dingy painting after undergoing restoration. From what I’ve been able to find out about her, Pine, a conductor herself, brings an unusual degree of intelligence to her work, particularly with regard to baroque repertoire.

The near full house (except for my empty seat, I suppose) went into an instant standing ovation at the end of the “Seasons” and, we’re told, Pine performed a movement from another Vivaldi concerto with the orchestra, this one on the viola d’amore.

Conductor Randall Craig Fleischer also led the orchestra in Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. I hear it was good, but as one reader put it, “it was the ‘Four Seasons’ that did it for me.”

Though sources were satisfied with the sound of the ensemble, particularly the greater assertion on the part of the strings, at least one party thought the harpsichord was not up to Atwood and wondered whether it may be time for Anchorage to get a full-size professional concert harpsichord. 

The next Anchorage Symphony performance will be a Valentine’s Day tribute to Frank Sinatra with guest vocalist Steve Lippia. Tickets for “Simply Sinatra” are available at