The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, under the polished direction of Thomas Wilson, sparkled Sunday evening, ensconced in the magical setting of the Great Hall in Glen Eyrie Castle. Superb acoustics, enhanced by the oak-paneled walls and vaulted ceiling of the hall, complemented the evening’s sophisticated savoir-faire. The concert, presented a week before Labor Day, was a charming tribute to summer.

Wilson’s mastery of the literature was always evident and the orchestra presented a variety of contrasting musical styles. A unique highlight of the evening, employing tunes and motives from our western heritage, as well as bits and pieces from other cultures and styles, was Wilson’s arrangement of this montage, “Fiddle Fantasy,” performed by the orchestra’s principal violinist Jacob Klock, who also performed a thrilling rendition of the summer movement from the “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi.

A warm connection between audience and performers was cultivated as each composition was introduced and narrated by the accomplished mezzo-soprano Jennifer DeDominici, who also performed a beautiful aria from Handel’s opera “Rinaldo,” a duet with Klock from Monteverdi’s “The Coronation of Poppea,” and a curious arrangement of Gershwin’s “Summertime,” arranged by Bert Ligon. Her refined and expressive voice was captivating with the Baroque pieces, complementing the setting of the castle.

Rounding out the soloists was the versatile Ian Buckspan, a young clarinetist with a velvet technique. Performing a 20th century composition, Buckspan’s ability to make the clarinet speak with his wide range of tonal shadings and nuances made Lawrence Ashmore’s piece a delight to experience.

Featuring his select string orchestra, Wilson balanced the program with two interesting compositions: a folksy English jig, “Dance from Brook Green Suite,” by Gustave Holst, and a composition by Jose Bragata which utilized structural ideas derived from the Argentine tango.

Concertgoer Linda Samelson wrote, “This was one of the best concerts I have ever attended. The selections were perfect for a summer evening and the talent was outstanding.”

J.D Barrowclough said it was an “outstanding performance by the Chamber Orchestra” that “made for a very enjoyable evening.”

Glen Eyrie offers events throughout the year. For more information, visit gleneyrie.org.

Dr. Istvan (Steve) Hornyak is a professional musician, composer and retired teacher from Academy School District 20 residing in Colorado Springs. As a former Colorado Teacher of the Year, he highly values education and is a committed advocate of the local arts. Contact him with questions and ideas at ihornyak@aol.com.

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