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Chico Symphony Orchestra presents entertaining, intense performance
Melanee Grondahl
Staff Writer
-Wednesday, March 8, 1995

Chico Symphony Orchestra and internationally known horn player Thomas Bacon's performance Saturday night was classy and professionally brassy. The walls of Laxson Auditorium reflected Bacon's gold French Horn and projected the sounds of Mozart, Plog and Dvorak.

Conductor David Colson arranged "Around the Horn," Saturday evening's musical line-up, so that it was a mixture of light entertainment and intense orchestration.

The performance began with an all brass selection by the name of "Floreado de trumpetas," written by Colson. This was a gutsy move on Colson's part since "Floreado" was a rather modern, minor and intentionally discorded opening composition.

The brass section produced some high octave warbles, but came out on top when the French Horns answered the trumpets' echo with a powerful harmonious reply. Mozart's "Horn Concerto No. 3 in E-flat Major" introduced Bacon's solo performance.

Bacon played the three movements without a flaw and displayed an amazing ability to play a bellowing fortissimo and then whisper a clear pianissimo with one breath. The stocatto notes in the third movement, "Allegro," were precise and grand. The next arrangement was Plog's premiere orchestral version of "Five Aesop's Fables."

This piece was specifically arranged for Bacon's horn and narrating voice Bacon's narration was cleverly animated with a creative ability to produce different voices for each of Aesop's animals.

The fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare" was particularly humorous when Bacon's slow, lazy tortoise voice answered his hyperactive hare impression. Each fable was accompanied by the symphony's interpretation of the actions of each character within the story.

For example, in the fable "The Wind and the Sun," the brass section imitated the sound of the wind by loudly blowing air through their instruments. Each fable ended with a charming moral. The fifth fable, "The Mule," was about a young mule who insisted that she could run faster than anyone else. The symphony matched her desperate attempt to prove her speedy abilities by playing frantic scales and chase scene accompaniment. The mule ended up wheezing and gasping as she remembered that even though her mother was a race horse, her father was a donkey. The moral of the story was that there are two sides to every truth.

Dvorak's "Symphony No. 8 in G Major," consisted of four majestic, bow bouncing movements.The movements contained powerful Dvorak shine with a little twist. The trumpet section in the first movement contributed a series of solemn muted notes, followed by blasts of sound from the French horn. The second movement spotlighted the flutes, oboes and clarinets and even contained a dramatic timpani roll.The fourth movement, "Allegro ma non troppo," ended the program with a finale that produced shivers amongst the audience.

Colson and the whole Orchestra's hair was bouncing and shaking furiously as they performed the finishing touch of the evening. The crowd responded in enthusiastic applause as Colson and Bacon came out together on stage to acknowledge their talent and skill.

Copyright (c) Wednesday, March 8, 1995 by The Orion
Reprinted here with permission.

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