By Nino Pantano
Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
On the evening of Thursday, May 22 at The Little Church around the Corner at 1 East 29th Street in New York City, Maestro Ida Angland and Gateway Classical Music Society presented a delightful evening of musical favorites.
The Gateway Classical Music Society was founded 10 years ago by Maestro and Music Director Ida Angland and since then audiences have marveled toAida, Rigoletto, Mme. Butterfly,Tosca,The Verdi Requiem and others with critical praise and word of mouth. The theme of this splendid organization is “great works-up close and personal." This concert was presented in five different venues including The First Congregational Church in Greenwich Ct., St.Phillip's Church in Harlem, The Ridgewood United Methodist Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey and Shaarei Tikvah Synagogue in Scarsdale. We hope a Brooklyn venue will soon be available for this remarkable ensemble.
Maestro Angland and the 80 piece Gateway Orchestra opened the concert with the Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899) It was a lively, spirited affair. Maestro Ida Angland is a pioneer as a woman in a man's profession but when she lifts the baton, its as easy as opening a door and letting in fresh air.
Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 55 - "Eroica” by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was initially inspired by Napoleon (Before he fell from grace). The richness of the music evokes freedom and there is a sense of sport in Beethoven's themes and passages. Maestro Leonard Bernstein considered the first two movements the greatest in the symphonic canon. Beethoven’s genius is revealed from Ida Angland's unquenchable thirst for getting to the core and showcasing the work.
The intermission allowed us to explore this beautiful Church known as “The Actors Church” with its wood paneled ceiling, its naves grottoes, fonts and small chapels. It was also an opportunity to chat with our friends Concertmaster Gino Sambuco, violinist Yelena Savranskaya and violist Alexandra Honigsberg. We know Yelena and Alexandra from the Regina Opera in Brooklyn.
Next came the Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). The soloist was the young 23 year old, handsome and gifted Davide de Ascaniis from Venice, Italy.This popular work was brought to new life by de Ascaniis with superb support by the Gateway Orchestra. His dazzling finger work, musicality, pizzicato and incredible cadenzas evoked the wizardry of Paganini. He was as one with the conductor Ida Angland and Tchaikovsky! Many bravos ensued!
Maestro Ida Angland conducts without a score, a gift to the chosen few. We leave these special concerts enlightened by the power of great music and empowered because we realize the importance of such lofty goals from kindred souls.