Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra
2017-18 Season
1st Pops Concert

BY MICHAEL SOBOTA


A WARM wave of generous applause rolled up from the Community Auditorium and washed onto the stage as Daniel Bartholomew-Poser took the podium. The concert had not yet begun but Thunder Bay audiences have great affection for Bartholomew-Poser.

After several years absence, he returned to Thunder Bay to conduct the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (TBSO) in its first Pops Concert of the 2017-2018 season.

This was indeed the official launch of the TBSO‘s 57 season in Thunder Bay.

He was also here to take us to the movies. The program featured all movie music.

A concert like this is constructed of excerpts of arrangements from original scores composed for films. And because this was a Pops concert, the programming included music from major popular movies, including The Godfather, Jurassic Park, The Wizard of Oz, and movies that were made of original Broadway musicals including Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music.

It has been five months since we last heard the TBSO live on the auditorium stage. It was as though they just set down their instruments yesterday. They sounded splendid. The program gave a showcase for their full technical and professional depth and range. For this concert there was an expanded brass and percussion section, as movie scores often require.

Bartholomew-Poser commanded the podium. In the years since he has been here, he has grown in both skill and confidence as a conductor. Tall in stature, he has an easy rapport with the audience and orchestra.

While conducting, he has a muscular fluidity that helps us and the orchestra see the music. When he’s excited, he rises off his heels, as though the music is almost uncontainable and needs to take flight.

Movie scores can be full of large orchestral swirls. To counter that impression,  Bartholomew-Poser skillfully showed us a theme from The Avengers.

He stepped off the podium to allow a string quartet begin the piece, composed by Franz Schubert. As the theme and variations unfolded, he stepped back onto the podium and brought the full ensemble into play. A lovely insight into how a classical piece was utilized to underscore a film.

He also conducted a vigorous section of the music from Psycho. Boldly, he did not feature the famous music from the shower scene. But the excerpt he chose from Bernard Herrmann’s score evoked all the tension and terror and loneliness of that film.

And, for the most part, that’s what this concert did. It brought to life the emotional atmosphere of the films that this music was composed for.

Through out the concert, the TBSO musicians performed with their impeccable high standards. What a pleasure it is to hear them again. And conductor Bartholomew-Poser led them through a resounding conclusion with the Throne Room and End Title music from Star Wars. What a celebratory way to launch the TBSO‘s 57th season!

Advance notice: next week Friday they perform the season’s not-to-be-missed first Masterworks concert.

The TBSO relies on major support and contributions from local businesses to perform for us. The annual Pops Series is sponsored by The Chronicle-Journal.

Michael Sobota reviews the symphony orchestra for The Chronicle-Journal.

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