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USA Japan Goodwill Mission Concert Brings Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to Carnegie Hall
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USA Japan Goodwill Mission Concert Brings Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to Carnegie Hall

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USA Japan Goodwill Mission Concert
New York Festival Orchestra
Beethoven Memorial Chorus
(Concert Web Page)

Hideaki Hirai, Music Director and Conductor
Hideyuki, Choral Conductor

Naomi Satake, Soprano
Francesca Lunghi, Alto
Paul Williamson, Tenor
Katsuji Miura, Bass-baritone

Carnegie Hall
Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 26, 2013

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125.

Claude-Michel Schonberg/Herbert Kretzmer: “I Dreamed a Dream”, from Les Miserables
, Performed by Ederliza Concepcion, Singer, and Cidric Trinidad, Piano.

Louie Ocampo: “Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin”, Performed by Ederliza Concepcion, Singer, Joel Saavedra, Singer, Cidric Trinidad, Piano.

No Borders Youth Chorus, Joe Cerutti, Music Director
Joseph Barbera/William Hanna/Hoyt Curtin, arr. Drew Tere, “Meet the Flintstones”.

Charles Brown/Gene Redd, arr. Steve Tramack, “Please Come Home for Christmas”.

Tom Petty/Jeff Lynne, arr. Aaron Dale, “Free Fallin”
, Tim Warrick, Tenor Solo.

Freddie Mercury, arr. Steve Armstrong, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Traditional, arr. Clay Hine, “Auld Lang Syne”.

Lunch Break Quartet (Eddie Holt, Shane Scott, KJ McAleesejergins, Mike O’Neill).
Spencer Williams, arr. Dave Briner, “Basin Street Blues”.

E. T. Nettleingham, arr. Lunch Break, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”.

The Beethoven “Ninth Symphony” was performed by the New York Festival Orchestra, Beethoven Memorial Chorus, and guest solo vocalists. Hideaki Hirai conducted. This Symphony is highly popular in Japan during New Year’s festivities. The first movement, “Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso”, featured strings and bassoons in atonal fervor. The musicians and chorus had been assembled just for this special event, and it was incredible how this orchestra was so tightly timed and in visual communication with Maestro Hirai. The second movement, “Scherzo: Molto vivace – Presto”, was evocative of the opening theme, but with differing tempos and volume. The timpani were dramatically featured, and from my first tier, left, box seat, I was in full view of the percussion contingent, including triangle and kettle drums. Sweeping musicality marked the moment.

The third movement, “Adagio molto e cantabile – Andante Moderato – Tempo Primo – Andante Moderato – Adagio – Lo Stesso Tempo”, is expansive and elegant, with thematic variations featured. The brass instruments were featured in heraldic fanfare, followed by full orchestral repetitions, and the violins, horns, and trombones were introduced with the Conductor’s masterful baton. The clarinetists caught my eye with lovely refrains. It’s the final, fourth movement, where the chorus and solo vocalists are introduced, in renowned, melodic harmonies. Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”, sung in German, rang clear, with monumental effects. Naomi Satake, soprano, Francesca Lunghi, alto, Paul Williamson, tenor, and Katsuji Miura, bass-baritone, all sang with gorgeous tonality and warm resonance. The cellos were especially scintillating in this final movement. The audience was filled with friends and relatives of tonight’s international instrumental and choral ensembles, and they made their enthusiasm heard throughout the evening. As the Beethoven Ninth came to a torrential conclusion, the Hall erupted in equally torrential accolades.

The remaining program was another event, in itself, with Dr. Ederliza Concepcion, accompanied by Cidric Trinidad, on piano, performing a song from “Les Miserables”, with tender, yet bright clarity, followed by a vocal duo with Joel Saavedra, for a Filipino song, by Louie Ocampo. Mr. Saavedra is a vocalist who should be heard again, with strength and pure tones. The all-male No Borders Youth Chorus, introduced and conducted by Joe Cerutti, was also pulled together for tonight, and there was a bit of choreography and athletics included in the performance of “Meet the Flintstones” and “Please Come Home for Christmas”. In “Free Fallin’”, Tim Waurick, a tenor solo who specializes in “a cappella”, joined the Youth Chorus for a lovely, melodic collaboration. Lunch Break, a humorous Barbershop Quartet, sang “Basin Street Blues”, along with clarinet accompaniment, and then a raucous variation on “Old MacDonald…”. No Borders Youth Chorus returned with two more numbers.

New York Festival Orchestra at Carnegie Hall
Hideaki Hirai, Music Director & Conductor
Beethoven Memorial Chorus, and Soloists
Courtesy of Stanly Abraham

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at