So I'll be honest and admit something that shames me: Up until recently – and I'm talking about just last Sunday – I didn't know what a chamber orchestra was. I mean, I knew kind of what it was, but I didn't know any specifics. I knew a chamber orchestra was smaller than a regular orchestra, but that's it.
I know…shameful. I pride myself on my cultural sensibilities, and I didn't know one of the most basic words in the lexicon. Chamber Orchestra.
But let me assure you all…I know what it is now. Thanks to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, I am now well-versed in all things chamber orchestra.
I know now that a chamber orchestra really is just a smaller scale orchestra. It still has the winds and the brass and strings and everything else…but just on a smaller scale.
I know now that a chamber orchestra does indeed have a conductor. Lawrence Loh, impeccable and incredible, exemplified charisma and charm as he led the PSO Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, during a performance that included works by Honegger, Mendelssohn, Milhaud, and Beethoven.
I know now that a chamber orchestra is just as powerful as an orchestra of 100. As I was sitting in Upper St. Clair High school's auditorium, I couldn't help but be marveled by the sheer force of the music. It didn't just fill that auditorium, but I think I saw the walls bend as the sound waves crashed against them. Impressive doesn't begin to cover that sound I heard last Sunday.
I know now that the PSO Chamber Orchestra can put on one heck of a show. They had two soloist on Sunday, violinist Christopher Wu performing a jaunty, energetic Concertino de Printemps, and James Gortoon, oboe extraordinnaire who brought to life a very stunning Adagio for Oboe and Strings.
Finally, I know now what I've been missing all these years. I know now that the PSO Chamber Orchestra is something I definitely want to see again.
Chamber orchestras aren't really all that different from a regular orchestra. They just went in the spin cycle and shrank a few sizes…so to speak. But they're still just as fashionable, wonderful, and pleasing to both ears and eyes as anything else.