Massapequa Philharmonic Back With “Elegance and Brilliance”

Musical Director David Bernard (left) and world-renowned clarinetist Jon Manasse (right). (Photos courtesy of Lauren Feldman)

Recently, Massapequa’s Philharmonic Orchestra held their second of three concerts; titled “Elegance and Brilliance”. The concert was an exploration of the Romantic Period of classical music. According to Music Director David Bernard, the Romantic Period is notably different from its predecessor, the Classical Period, because it is more personal. “When you listen to the beauty of the melodies, and what the music is trying to tell you, it’s personal. It’s more heartfelt.”

The concert took place in three parts: beginning with Beethoven’s Overture to Lenore, No. 3, Op. 72b. This piece is from Beethoven’s only opera and tells the story of Florestan, a man imprisoned for his political beliefs, and his wife Lenore, who disguises herself as the prison guard “Fidelio” in an attempt to free him. It is an overture which encompasses the entire story of the opera.

The second part of the concert, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 73 featured world-renowned clarinetist Jon Manasse. The piece is unique as it employs clarinet as a stand-in for opera singing, pushing the envelope on the capabilities of clarinets in musical storytelling. Manasse, a longtime friend of Bernard’s, is a world-renowned clarinetist who, unsurprisingly, brought a deft skill to its performance. In accompaniment with the orchestra, Manasse brought to life a story of lyric through instrumentals.

Manasse offered a moving performance of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1.

The concert finished with Schumann’s Symphony No.4 in D minor, Op.120. This piece takes place over the course of four movements, and differs from other symphonies in that there are no pauses between each movement. The themes return again and again in each movement, and the symphony is argued to be Schumann’s best. The orchestra performed a journey of hills and valleys, with peaks of intensity and a barrage of sound, followed by soft solos, enrapturing the audience and keeping them on their proverbial toes.

If you missed this concert, you’re in luck – the Philharmonic will return on June 4th for their final show; “Images and Imagination” featuring Greig Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Debussy Nocturnes, and Mussorgsky / Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition. Tickets are required for entry. For more information, please go to or call (516) 387-6761.

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Lauren Feldman is the Editor of the Nassau Observer. She is a Long Island native, who received an MA in Media and International Development from the University of East Anglia.

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