It's another performance by the
This pre-concert play-in, for an oversized woodwind choir, invited area flutists, oboists, clarinetists, hornists, and bassoonists to register, download sheet music, practice, then assemble en masse for single movements from the Strauss, Haydn's Divertimento No. 1 in B-flat Major, and Gounod's Petite Symphonie.
The sound was anything but petite. A certain ear might have picked up a missed entrance or rough intonation, but the organlike sound of multitudes echoing with three-second reverberation under the Kimmel's snow-covered glass barrel vault carried a sweet context. The goal of the play-in -- and of three more this season -- is to create intimate points of contact between the orchestra and its fans.
Jurowski, the tall, baton-thin 41-year-old Russian who has become a favorite orchestra guest, said the stint was hardly a case of stooping to conquer. He pivoted to give cues, and shaped phrases with an elegant devotion that raised amateur night to a new high.
"I didn't really expect the playing to be of such good quality. I think it was really very good. It was not a charity event," he said backstage before leading the all-professional Philadelphians in an all-Rachmaninoff program.
The amateurs -- every age and level of proficiency -- came from Albany, from
"It's very moving to be playing with all of these people," veteran orchestra flutist
Bridging divides is a role orchestras everywhere are pursuing with urgency. Jurowski has been a visible reformer of image in
DePasquale put together the orchestra's first play-in in 2001, and three more are planned at various sites through May: for harps, brass, and double-basses. Registration for the March harp play-in begins Tuesday.
For his part, Jurowski says events like this are exactly what orchestras should be doing.
"It's a great idea and very important in a world ruled by the laws of business and politics to connect classical music with the audience, and to create the sense that music, and classical music in particular, is still playing a role in society -- that it isn't just entertainment, but it has a role uniting people. At the forefront should be the top orchestras and choirs. They should be bringing the music to the people."
Afterward, Jurowski told his impromptu band he would be conducting the famously brawny
"If the playing is not strong enough," he said, "I will tell them: In Philadelphia they have a much larger sound."
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