Following this opening, the audience was transported from 18th century Salzburg to tropical rain forest of today’s Puerto Rico by Victoria Bond’s El Yunque. As the composer noted about this work, the rainforest El Yunque “is home to many exotic cratures, including the Puerto Rican Parrot and the tree frog called ‘Coqui.’ Because both of these are so musical in their vocalizations, I decided to create a sound environment composed of their cries.”
Our soloists returned to perform a stunning rendition of the Grand Duo for Bass and Violin by Giovanni Bottesini. This show-stopper reminded the audience of Bottesini’s close friendship with the operatic composer Giuseppe Verdi, with its overlapping lyrical melodies between the bass and violin, played with superb virtuosity by Maria Larionoff and Catalin Rotaru.
After intermission, the orchestra performed the grand and deeply moving “Organ Symphony”, Symphony Number 3 by Camille Saint-Saëns, featuring Cara Peterson on Roosevelt’s Froula organ. Ms. Peterson’s sensitive touch and the warm balance between the organ and orchestra brought out the depth of this work written by Saint-Saëns in 1186 for his good friend Franz Liszt.