Sights & Sounds
from The Music City Review
Beethoven@250: Humanity in 2020, virtual concert
“…..The latest concert from the Gateway Chamber Orchestra (GCO) was the group’s first foray into the digital space, but you would never be able to guess it because of its high production quality.”
The Lyric for Strings is a slow, lush, and beautiful movement. Gregory Wolynec and the string section of the GCO really shone in this piece.
The first movement’s introduction [from Beethoven's Symphony No. 7] is noble and powerful, contrasting perfectly with the lighthearted vivace. The woodwinds steal the show in the first movement; brilliant playing by each member makes the piece as lively as ever.
The second movement was dedicated to “All of the lives we lost in 2020” with the hope of brighter days to come.
Wolynec starts the group off at a moderate pace and then does a fantastic job of backing off and letting the movement unfold on its own. Conductors, especially in this movement, can become too involved and bog down the music. In a symphony all about rhythm I appreciate when a conductor can lean into the rhythms and syncopations to really bring the piece to life.
The third movement was off to a rollicking start with the violins leading the way. Again, the GCO seemed right at home with this piece. They showed no discomfort at the quick tempo and were able to dance throughout. Even through a masked countenance, Wolynec encouraged the playfulness through eye contact and smiles. I couldn’t help but smiling as well throughout this whole movement.
Wolynec called the last movement marked Allegro con brio “just about perfect” and made it evident through his clear interpretation and smooth music making. The GCO excelled in this work even through the difficulties of sitting spaced apart and playing through masks.
Overall, Beethoven@250: Humanity in 2020 is a great showing for the GCO.
High quality audio captured the sense of being live in the room and multiple camera angles were sure to catch all of the action.
I salute any organization that can put on a concert during these times, and especially a concert of such high quality as this one.
If you enjoy these concerts and enjoy the performing arts then I would highly recommend supporting organizations like this one.
conductor, composer, and classical music critic
from Nashville Classical Radio
Beethoven@250: Humanity in 2020, virtual concert
The 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven came and went with only a fraction of the expected fanfare.
One ensemble that was still able to put together an appropriate birthday party was the Gateway Chamber Orchestra. Seeing an orchestra on a stage was a shock of normalcy for the end of a difficult year.
The music selections were a balm for the soul. From George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, written to mourn the composer’s mother, to Starburst — pure joy from Jessie Montgomery during this suffrage anniversary year. And of course, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, with its pressing and pleading second movement, made for a moving selection.
percussionist, composer, & classical music journalist
from Fanfare Magazine
Chamber Symphonies, album
"This program of three works is brilliantly conceived, for there are enough commonalities between them to make them logical discmates, while at the same time, there are sufficient differences in their respective composers’ styles, musical vocabularies, and scorings to offer contrasts in content and textures. Wolynec’s Gateway Chamber Orchestra continues to impress me immensely with this release. The players may be university faculty members augmented by practicing musicians from the outside community, but in every way these are topnotch, professional performances that match or outclass the competition.
As noted earlier, Summit’s magnificent SACD recording is also a significant asset in clarifying scores of this complexity, but in the end, the main credit has to go to Gregory Wolynec and his outstanding Gateway Chamber Orchestra players for their fantastic achievement. I commend this release to you with my strongest recommendation.”
Wind Serenades, album
"I am pleased to report that in the case of the Gateway [Chamber Orchestra's] tuning, it is one of the most impeccable on record, with a balance that avoids most of the harmonic clashes without removing the characters of each instrument...So spontaneous and natural is the Gateway's approach that I never felt for a moment that their tempi were dragging or lacking in rhythmic lift; the music is simply allowed to breathe. Their minuets are full of humour, with impish oboes, toe-tapping rhythms and well-shaped phrasing, while slow movements flow elegantly and eloquently. Most importantly, the players make subtle changes of emphasis and dynamics in the repeats, a matter of great importance in [Mozart's Gran Partita Serenade], since all movements (except the first adagio) have many repeated sections. In fact, about 30% of the whole Serenade is made from repeats and, without some help from the players, the listener can begin to flag. I found every moment of the Gateway's playing to be delightful vintage Mozart, quite captivating."