North State Symphony returns with classical selections, spotlighting young artists


Natalie Hanson

The North State Symphony returned to Laxson for a selection of Vienna-styled compositions.

Natalie Hanson

The North State Symphony returned to Laxson Auditorium for a celebration of classic and contemporary sounds Sunday.

This is the 17th season for the North State Symphony, which is conducted by Scott Seaton. The concert, titled “Almost Vienna” featured compositions from 1787 up to 1971, and featured two students of music in two selections from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Natalie Hanson
Members of the Symphony included spotlighted winners of the Young Artist Audition.

The performance began with Franz Schubert’s Overture to Die (Die Zwillingsbrüder), a lesser-known work of the composer, before moving to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K.218. This selection featured the solo violinist Jet Glover. A freshman at Sonoma State University, Glover’s violin skills were shown off in moments with no orchestral backing, and allowed Glover to show off the voice of D major in his solo.

The show then diverted from traditional Viennese music with William Bolcom’s contemporary “Commedia for (almost) 18th-century Orchestra”. The piece was almost humorous in its chaotic mixture of tradition, in keeping with the rest of the concert, with dissonant climaxes and jazzy fills.

Returning to Mozart in the show, came the spotlight of Natasha Czajka. Now in her senior year at the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco, Czajka was featured in an aria from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” an opera she performed in, in fall 2017, in Germany. The aria perfectly showcased her rich mezzo-soprano (a type of female voice that is one step below the soprano, or highest female register, voice) range.

The concert concluded with Beethoven’s full four-movement Seventh symphony. It is a symphony of exceptional power even compared to the composer’s Fifth Symphony, with particular unexpected climaxes in the third movement despite more calm darkness in the second movement. This symphony garnered additional applause from the audience even between movements with its intensity and difficulty.

The compositions also exemplified conductor Scott Seaton’s usual exuberant, passionate style, particularly in Beethoven’s Seventh. His sense of humor and dedication to the selections was clear throughout, even winking at the audience occasionally when conducting a sudden transition from climax to gentle melody.

The North State Symphony will return to Chico and Redding in their next performance, the Pops! event “The Best of John Williams”.

Natalie Hanson can be reached at [email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion on Twitter.