Concert Review of Diablo Symphony Orchestra, April 10, 2016

There was a new piece introduced at the concert with the theme being titled “ Spring Yearnings “ by Maestro Hofman. It was called Waterwheel by Korean composer and teacher at the Boston Conservatory Eun Young Lee. It was a pleasant combination of east and west and though inspired by a waterwheel it began and ended within a correct pace of not being too long or too short.

The symphony went on to a slower pace by playing the meditative pieces by Erik Satie of the Gymnopedies I and II and as an added flair of French music of the time, Debussy’s Clair de Lune.

The closing piece before intermission was a piano tour de force of Totentanz by Franz Liszt.

The winner of the 2016 Yen Liang Young Artist Competition Soo Ji Lee gave an exciting performance of the work, for which she got a well deserved standing ovation. From the minute that she walked on stage in her red dress the audience expected great things. The lady in red delivered a stunning performance. We cannot short Liszt in that the 1849 work shined as though it were composed yesterday. It shook the concert hall and kept the reputation alive that when Liszt finished he left the piano in shambles. When it was all over both the orchestra and the soloist left the concert hall in an almost stunned silence, truly a moving experience.

Although in the second half the Diablo Symphony played the stately and serene Rhapsodie Espanol of Maurice Ravel returning to the more pensive French music of the early twentieth Century. It finished with a tone poem by Franz Liszt, the inventor of the format. Les Prelude of Franz Liszt did not disappoint and Maestro Hofman and the orchestra played superbly and the concert ended with a spark of enthusiasm that was felt in the end of the firsthalf of the performance. Again, you could hear a pin drop at the end of Les Prelude, as it should be, but is so seldom done. Congratulations to the symphony and soloist to provide such a satisfying evening of music.

Douglas Burgess