Zipping into the Tates Creek Presbyterian Church parking lot after a late start, the game plan was to grab a quick spot and hopefully hustle in before the downbeat.
One row, no spots. Next row, no spots. It was getting close to soccer field-only parking.
And entering the sanctuary, after a brisk walk from the back of the lot, the only clearly available seats were in the back few rows.
Clearly, I was late to the party in more ways than one.
The Lexington Chamber Orchestra has been going since the Fall of 2015, an earnest endeavor led by Jan Pellant, a graduate student in conducting at the University of Kentucky. The ensemble contains players with experience in the Lexington Philharmonic, UK Symphony Orchestra, and other prominent Lexington music backgrounds.
And the group has attracted a healthy audience of ardent area music fans, who turned out in force for Saturday night’s second season finale.
The appeal was evident from the downbeat (that I did make) of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto Andaluz,” featuring the University of Kentucky Guitar Quartet. There was a gorgeous blend between the orchestra and quartet that seemed to show off the acoustic qualities of the room as well as the orchestra, save for some high brass, which came in a bit hot.
The blend was particularly striking in the gentle “Adagio,” an exquisite exercise in restraint for all involved.
On a busy night, the second selection was W.A. Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante,” featuring violin soloist Rebecca Mosloff and her husband an viola soloist Derek Mosloff. The Mozart work was right in the chamber orchestra’s wheelhouse, and Derek’s performance was a particularly rare opportunity to hear the viola front and center, as both a mellow undercurrent and a sprite lead.
Speaking of rare, in the concert’s second half, the orchestra offered up a 19th century work Pellant said was being played for the first time in Lexington. Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek’s “Symphony is D Major” is described as a transitional work from the classical to romantic periods, and that was easy to hear from the studied first movement to the cathartic finale.
Though board member Jonathan Crosmer said that the orchestra sometimes stretches the definition of “chamber orchestra,” as such, it is well positioned to bring works in the chamber repertoire to Lexington and carve out a unique position in the area music scene. Clearly, area music fans are responding to what the orchestra is doing.
The organization is well-positioned to launch a third season come the fall, possibly presenting a Sunday matinee at a downtown or north side venue — Crosmer mentioned the Lyric Theatre in opening remarks. So, if you are late to this party too, there should be plenty of opportunities in 2017-18.