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Orpheus at Carnegie: The End of the Season

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra presses onward with its demonstration that conductors are perhaps unnecessary. Listening to the orchestra play Schumann's Second Symphony, a serious if idiosyncratic entry in the catalogue of Important German Symphonies, was about as exciting an experience as I could stand in a concert hall - or anywhere else, for that matter. It was odd, odd, odd, to hear the music and not to see a conductor. How was it happening? What if someone went astray? What if someone led a whole section astray?

I wanted Kathleen to attempt a description of violinist Janine Jansen's gown, but she's not here, so I'll have to essay one myself. Ms Jansen is a pretty, fit, medium-tall young woman, and she plays with her knees (so to speak). Her gusto brought the hem of her voluminous tulle skirt to the floor fairly regularly; ordinarily, it hovered at her instep (she was wearing highish heels). The bodice of the gown was like nothing so much as a Roman breastplate, but without the shoulders. A serious fashion statement, and definitely not your standard concert-artist couture. Oh, and she played the Mendelssohn e-minor really well, too. 

Orpheus at Carnegie Hall.


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Janine Jansen was indeed fabulous! She played a Strad, no less, with great brio and intelligence...and she had a great time. Her evident delight in the music was infectious. I did find myself wishing that she had worn black pants, because her vigorous playing style was rather antithetical to the soft folds of her skirt, but maybe that was the effect she sought. It was a great performance.

The Schuman was to die for...I could actually hear the music, as opposed to the usual wall of sound. I hope Orpheus keeps it up...it's so exciting to hear what a like-minded group of people without a formal leader can accomplish.

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