Beethoven, Liszt were two TICO audience favorites

By Eileen Wingard

Eileen Wingard

SAN DIEGO — A large audience welcomed the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra (TICO), under the direction of David Amos, for the January 31 concert at Tifereth Israel Synagogue. The program featured two audience favorites, Beethoven’s Symphony #5 and the Liszt’s Piano Concerto #2, with Pianist Peter Vinograde.

Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, with its repeated note theme, is arguably the most recognized symphony in the repertoire. For those of us who lived through WWII and recall Morse code, the dot-dot-dot-dash of the theme represented the letter V, which was the sign for VICTORY, the hope and aspiration of the Allies. Therefore, this symphony took on a symbolism beyond its musical inspiration. Yet, even without the outside symbolism, Beethoven’s heroic horn call beginning, and the short motif’s repetition throughout the first movement, gives it an engaging presence that few other first movements possess.

The celli and violas introduced the second movement with nice sonority, and the violins did well, embroidering the lovely theme.

The horns’ entrance in the third movement was solid. The upper string pizzicato passage was excellent, leading to the final movement. There was beautiful bassoon playing and a nice woodwind blend before the coda, which brought the symphony to its final close.

Reaching an even more professional level of performance, the orchestra accompanied the evening’s piano virtuoso, Peter Vinograde. Vinograde just recorded Arnold Rosner’s Piano Concerto #2 with David Amos and the London Philharmonic. The late Rosner, a New York-based composer, was one of the American composers whom Amos had championed, and Rosner had served as TICO’s composer-in residence.

The Liszt work was given a bold reading by Vinograde, whose dynamic paletteincluded notes, so powerfully played in the bass, that they seemed to threaten the piano strings.

His technique was spectacular, secure, controlled and scintillating. This was as good a performance of Liszt’s diabolical work as I have heard any pianist render.

Although Peter Vinograde is not a household name, he has an impressive resume. He teaches at both the Manhattan School of Music and at Lehman College (CUNY), he has an extensive discography, and he has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Asia.

The audience was treated to an encore, a Chopin Etude, played with the security and musicality demonstrated in the earlier work.

Amos was wise not to include an overture, but spend the rehearsal time perfecting the two familiar works programmed. Gerhard Betche, an accomplished pianist, as well as a violinist in TICO’s ranks, who once played viola in the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, played the solo passages in the Liszt concerto for the rehearsals before Vinograde’s arrival.
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Wingard is a former violinist with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and a freelance writer. She may be contacted via eileen.wingard@sdjewishworld.com

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