Dallas — This past Sunday created a situation that is both loved and dreaded by critics because two equally worthy concerts took place simultaneously. The only solution was to attend the first half of the concert presented by the Lone Star Wind Orchestra and the second half of the Dallas Symphony’s OPUS 100 organ concert series featuring the French virtuoso, Michel Bouvard.
The Lone Star Wind Symphony is one of two such professional ensembles in Dallas. The other one, Dallas Winds, is more spectacular in nature right down to their deafening fortissimo playing and excellent but a little showy conductor, Jerry Junkin. The Lone Star Wind Orchestra can also churn up some thrilling sounds but it takes a more subtle approach to both the music and the dynamics, as does their more restrained, equally excellent and precise conductor Eugene Migliaro Corporon.
Their season opener was on Oct. 15 at the Moody Performance Hall.
Corporon stated right at the beginning that this would be an "informance" and, true to his word, delivered concise and informative program notes between each selection. But before all of that, the program opened with a march, “Barnum and Bailey’ Favorite,” in honor of that famous circus that recently folded their tents for the last time. It was written by a member of the B&B band in 1913, Karl L. King.
This was followed by a more restrained piece, the Chaconne from Gustav Holst’s famous First Suite in E flat, ably conducted by guest conductor Jackie Townsend.
Next was a new work, based on the previously played chaconne, by composer Steven Bryant. Hearing the two together, after Corporon’s erudite remarks, made for a fascinating sonic experience. Bryant weaves fragments of Holst’s work through his piece, cleverly titled Suite Dreams, in an appropriately dreamy manner.
The first half ended with a tribute to Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks. Titled Rosa Parks Boulevard, the work features trio of trombones as soloists. This gave the excellent trombone section of the LSWO a chance to shine. And shine they did. They are Kenneth Moses, Ross Patterson and Jason Hausback.
Overall, this was an excellent program, put together with thought and beautifully played.
From the first moment, when they were tuning to the oboe, the audience could tell that they would pay careful attention to intonation. They listened carefully and tuned to the oboe’s exact pitch: first an A for the instruments pitched in C and then a B-flat for the others. You would be surprised how many organizations sort-of hear the oboe and then tune either slightly flat or sharp of that pitch.
As you would expect from a group of superbly trained instrumentalists with such a detail-oriented conductor, their ensemble was clean and crisp. Balance was always perfect as dynamics were carefully layered so that all of the concurrent lines could be clearly heard.
My only disappointment was that I had to leave to be able to catch the organ concert across the street at the Meyerson Symphony Center. (Read that review here.)