La Boheme posterOne of the things I really miss is concerts. Oh, I go to the Fairbanks Symphony concerts when I can, but I can’t drive in the dark (which is most of the day here in winter) and their concerts are all in the winter. So when the Opera Fairbanks orchestra offered a free concert last Thursday, I jumped at the chance to go at a time of year when I can drive. Especially since they were performing a piece by one of my favorite composers, the Mahler Symphony number 4.

I am not a music critic, and do not pretend to be. I did at one time play the trombone in youth symphonies, though I didn’t have the time once I was in college. Because of this, I was particularly interested to see that the program included a trombone concerto, a relative rarity. The remainder was Mozart, the overture from The Abduction from the Seraglio, and J. S. Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor.

Run of the Valkyries posterHaving played the trombone, I have to say I was a little disappointed in the Concert in e flat for Trombone and Orchestra, by Ferdinand David. Not that I could have played it; Mr. Becigo is a far better trombone player than I ever was. But knowing the instrument, I was considerably more critical of tone and intonation than most, and I have to say that his tone was not as good as it could have been. That said, it was nevertheless a good performance of a difficult piece.

The Mozart and Bach pieces were well played, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. But the piece de resistance was the Mahler.

It’s a long piece, around an hour, with a beautiful soprano solo in the fourth movement. Jamie-Rose Guarrine sang the solo, and – well, I can’t say the solo alone was worth the price of admission, since the concert was free. But it would have been worth the price of admission to a normal symphony concert, and then some.

Opera Fairbanks is putting on La Boheme next Thursday, and I am certainly planning to go. I trust they’ll forgive me for scanning their advertising posters! The Run of the Valkyries, a fund-raiser for Opera Fairbanks, I’ll have to skip.