By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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“Of all Mozart's concerti for wind instruments, the Clarinet Concerto is the greatest,” Stern declares of the piece, which the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra will play Saturday.
“The second movement is infused with a soulfulness that is beyond moving,” Stern added. “Mozart's supreme gift as a composer was the transcendence of his music.”
Osborn, the symphony's guest soloist for this piece, is a Seattle-based clarinet player who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He made a name for himself as the youngest clarinetist ever to join the Met's orchestra, and went on to play with other renowned groups such as the Seattle and Pittsburgh symphonies. He's been to Port Angeles, too, to play Gerald Finzi's clarinet concerto back in 2007. Saturday, Osborn will return just for the Mozart.
“The architecture of the piece is perfect, and it makes great use of the clarinet's abilities,” he said.
The concerto is “a beautiful piece in the classical tradition, the second movement being particularly beautiful.”
Saturday's symphony outing includes two performances. First is the morning “dress rehearsal” — though the musicians tend to wear casual clothes — at 10 a.m. The formal evening concert is at 7:30 p.m., following Stern's brief talk at 6:40 p.m. All of this takes place in the Port Angeles High School auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave.
Stern, a pianist as well as a conductor, is “a studious and expressive musician,” said Osborn. “He is full of interesting knowledge of the music,” so his pre-concert chats are an added treat.
Stern is also the chooser of other works on Saturday's program: the overture from Beethoven's only opera, “Fidelio”; Prokofiev's “Summer Day” and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5, known as the “Reformation” symphony.
Osborn also praised the Port Angeles orchestra, which is made up of players from all over the age map. There are teenagers such as violinist Anson Sin Ka Lik, violist Elizabeth Helwick and her brother, bassist Michael Helwick as well as 13-year-old violinist Kate Powers. Playing beside them are veterans such as 34-year member Stephanie Mitchell, a French horn player, and 22-year member Anthony Balducci, a bassist who comes over from Seattle.
Together, they're “a group of very enthusiastic musicians,” Osborn said. “I always appreciate their energy.”
These concerts are a chance to hear friends and neighbors play some of the best music ever written, Osborn added.
“It's always better than even the best sound-system. There's nothing like live music,” he said.
Tickets to the 10 a.m. performance are $5 per person or $10 per family; they're available at the door. Seats at the evening concert range from $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students for general admission and $30 or $20 for reserved seating. Outlets for general admission tickets include Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles; Sequim Village Glass, 761 Carlsborg Road; The Good Book/Joyful Noise Music Center, 108 W. Washington St., Sequim. Reserved seats can be purchased through the symphony office, 216-C N. Laurel St., Port Angeles, or by phoning 360-457-5579.
More details about this and the rest of the Port Angeles Symphony's 2013 season of concerts and activities awaits at www.PortAngelesSymphony.org.