"Czardas" is a composition by Italian composer Vittorio Monti. This rhapsodical concert piece, written in 1904 is a well-known folkloric piece is based on a Hungarian cszardas (tavern). It was originally composed for violin, mandolin, or piano. Take it up a number on the marimba as COS Young Symphonic Ensemble stepped aside to hear it done via a duet of marimba and bandurla.
It was an unexpected treat for the audience attending the Children’s Orchestra Society’s 24th Annual Discovery Gala at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on May 24 featuring Discovery Artist Alumni. Tomoya Aomori tapped the keys of this xylophone-like percussion instrument with lightning speed as it called for portions of the piece to his sometimes using three mallets, two in one hand and one in another.
COS’s Music Director and Conductor Michael Dadap, accompanied Aomori, a COS alumni, with the bandurla, a 14-string guitar originally from the Philippines that resonates more like a mandolin.
The sell-out crowd heard composers such as Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin as well as perhaps lesser known symphonists. Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide,” a lively opening, filled the great acoustics of the concert hall.
Special guest artist Pei-Wen Liao, was then featured on the violin with a piece called “Sunshine Over Tashkurgan,” composed by Gang Chen.
The four movement Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra by Ney Rosauro brought Aomori back to the stage prior to intermission.
Dadap treated the audience to a piece that he composed, Habanera from Handurawan Dance Suite. In the program notes, “Handurawan”, is a Viayan word meaning to reminisce or recollect early childhood memories.
This time it was a Gershwin score that featured Liao back to the stage as the orchestra performed selections from Broadway’s Porgy & Bess. “My Mans Gone Now,” “Oh, I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin,””Bess, You is My Woman,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “I Ain’t Got No Shame,” and the most well-heard “Summertime” were chosen.
If that wasn’t enough music to our ears, Liao went for an encore that was planned ahead of time but not soon enough to list in the program. She and Dadap discussed it on the stage for Liao to perform “Por una Cabeza," the tango theme song from the movie Scent of a Woman. It was clear that the audience did not mind that extra piece.
Ottorinci Respighi’s Rosinlana Suite, performed in four movements, was the finale. A very “colorful” suite, the piece is quite appropriate for a ballet.
Yeou-Cheng Ma, the founder of the COS, came up to the stage to take a bow with Dadap. For those not familiar with Dr. Ma’s career, please note that she can perform on the violin as good as her brother, Yo-Yo on the cello. She is referred to as “Dr. Ma” for those that know her in a second career as a Pediatrician.
If one would not rely on spotting the ages of the artists, the ears of ones appreciation of music would put this orchestra in the same class as any “adult” ensemble…and in many cases may surpass it. The talent is spot on. Personally I would love to see the CSO perform at a venue in Queens.