Wow! What an absolute treat! It was this Sunday’s (Oct. 24) performance of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest at the First United Church. The “Concert Fantistique”! If you missed this concert, dear reader, be sure to attend the symphony’s next performance on Dec. 12, and all of those thereafter.
It all started this Sunday with the orchestra exciting us with the very familiar “Dance Macabre” of Saint-Saens and Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette.” Then it was on to Engelbert Humperdinck’s pieces from “Hansel and Gretel.” But what happened next was nothing less than terrific: the very passionate and riveting performance of the lovely guest pianist, Mio Nakamura, of Franz Liszt’s “Dies Irae for Piano and Orchestra.” And if all of that wasn’t enough, the orchestra brought most of us to our feet concluding with the “Symphonie Fantistique” of Berlioz. This was a very musical concert. But it was also engaging and fun with titles having words and phrases such as macabre, “Witches Sabbath,” “Funeral March,” “Dies irae,” and (oh my!) “March to the Scaffold.” More, it was classical music.
The Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest is, indeed, special; it is the type of cultural benefit we would expect to find in Oak Park and River Forest. And the symphony’s concert this Sunday can best be described by its title, “Concert Fantastique.” Yes, it was fantastic!