Posts Tagged ‘Symphonies in Ocean Grove’

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger

There was a hot time in the old town tonight as classical music fans came to the Great Auditorium, despite humid heat and a rain storm, to hear the conclusion of the 2015 Classical Music Series “Summer Stars” in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, USA.

Before the event began, a small flotilla of umbrellas showed up, but right before the concert, the rain stopped and we got a brief video.

This series, known for its excellence, is the universe’s biggest concert bargain at $16.00 a ticket. And you get to hear the program in the amazing Great Auditorium, a vast wooden hall with astounding acoustics, admired by musicians from all over the world. They call it “great” for good reasons including the fact that you could drive a locomotive on its roof, if you were so inclined. Just ask Wayne “Ted” Bell, Cindy Bell, and Darryl Dufresne, authors of the definitive book about the Great Auditorium, for sale at the OG Historical Society.

It was an organ extravaganza presided over by Maestro Jason Tramm and organ Master Gordon Turk—both men in residence in Ocean Grove for the summer. They appeared tonight with the Hope Jones Organ which is in permanent residence in the Grove and with the Grand Orchestra, aka the MidAtlantic Opera Orchestra , which flew in for the event, travelling up and down the Garden State Parkway to reach exit 100.

Although I have been known to whine about the sound amplification in the GA, this ensemble was heard clear as a bell (it didn’t need amplification,) and when the Grand Orchestra and the Great Organ joined in together, it was auditory magnificence–almost orgasmic if you are an oboe player. Every hearing aid in the room had to be dialed down, and the hairs on the back of some necks stood straight up during the St. Saëns.

The concert featured a delicate and lovely rendition of Alexandre Guilmant’s Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, opus 42. And we enjoyed the familiar Pavanne (below) by Gabriel Fauré.   It was so hot in the room that some people got a Fauré look in their eyes, but later they were wide awake during the Organ Symphony.

Eileen had the good saëns to bring a fan. It is a Sousa fan for fans of Sousa.  And, speaking of Sousa’s Marine Band, what was missing?–it was the Star Spangled Banner.

Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 in C Minor is called the Organ Symphony for good reason. Gordon Turk got everyone’s attention when he let loose with 11,000 pipes of vacillating hot air. That sound would make anybody’s pancreas vibrate, and it is so beautiful in the hands (and feet) of Gordon Turk

Below are some St.Saëns video segments.   The whole concert was being video’d by professionals up in the rafters. I, on the other hand, was making movies from my seat with an iPhone, so you have to excuse the sudden stops, the backs of the heads that were in my way which absorbed some of the sound.

If you are the sort of music fan who likes some parts of symphonies, but you can’t wait to get to the end, I have saved the end for you; it’s like the tush on a roast chicken—very yummy and satisfying at the end. See the last video below.

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