Working on Wagner

by Dana Taylor

The La Mirada Symphony  string section worked hard last evening, getting ready for the next concert on February 23. The program is perhaps the most challenging of the season, beginning with the stirring Prelude to Die Meistersinger by Richard Wagner. Watching Dr. Frelly working with the each string section to pull them together as one “voice” was fascinating. With a smile and encouragement, he clapped out the beats, sometimes strolling between the music stands acting as a human metronome.

Clap, clap, clap, “That’s it!”

Working measure by measure, setting the bowing, finding the softs and the louds (pianos and fortes in music lingo), all moving toward one goal–bringing out the passion of the piece. Wagnerian music is known for its sweeping drama, probably reflecting the real life drama of the composer himself. From turbulent love affairs, critical success and failure, and political exile, Richard Wagner channeled all that life experience into his music.

By the end of last night’s rehearsal, the emotion of the music came through.

The “Celebration of the Masters” concert will include not only Wagner, but the Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88 by Antonin Dvorak. Plus, the talented Teresa de Jong Pombo will inspire the audience with her interpretation of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21.

But it will be the grand Wagnerian piece that begins the evening. Mark your calendar for February 23, 8 pm, at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. You won’t want to miss it!