LPO performance wraps audience in warm blanket
A cold front blew through Southwest Oklahoma Saturday evening right before the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra's concert, "The Cheery Cello." Orchestra patrons huddled in their wool and fur coats moved swiftly from their warm cars to the chilly lobby of the McMahon Memorial Auditorium the constant opening of the lobby doors created a freezing vortex in the auditorium's main entrance, blowing people straight to their seats.
As patrons snuggled up in the auditorium, Maestro Jon Kalbfleisch greeted the audience by stating that the orchestra's first piece, Lutoslawski's Overture for Strings, is as "bracing and invigorating as it is outside." Indeed it was, but instead of chilling audience members to their core, the piece seemed to warm people up. The frigid wind outside felt like it pierced the skin with tiny icicles, but the orchestra's performance of the overture wrapped the audience in a warm, fuzzy blanket.
The orchestra's second performance of the evening featured guest cellist Nathaniel Chaitkin in Haydn's Cello Concerto in C Major. The three movements were cheery not only in the music itself, but by Chaitkin's performance. His theatrics intrigued those in the audience as they could see his passion for the music with his closed eyes, enthusiastic eyebrows, soft smile and his light swaying. Chaitkin was also completely in tune with the orchestra and Kalbfleisch as he was moved by the music even when he wasn't playing. The orchestra's performance and Chaitkin's solos were both brimming with delight.
Kalbfleisch and the orchestra concluded the evening with a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 in B Major. According to Kalbfleisch's notes, "the somewhat mysterious and curious introduction" of the four movement piece "gives no indication of the rollicking good time to come in this bright, joyous and technically demanding work."