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MartinaSinfoniaHornSectionGerman kids who speak German must be smarter than I am, I always think, since I can’t speak German very well. Well, they actually may be smarter, but I know for a fact that the young people in the Philadelphia Sinfonia Players play better than I ever could.

The new full orchestra, the Sinfonia Players, is for “just as talented, but less experienced” musicians as those in the Sinfonia, President Carol Brown explained before the concert yesterday, and what an exciting first concert it was, opening with Mozart’s early Symphony No. 9.

Music Director Gary White skillfully led the orchestra’s strings through another early work, the Vivaldi Sinfonia No. 1, and everyone in large romantic pieces, the Dance of the Tumblers from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden, and three movements from Bizet’s L’arlésienne Suite No. 2. White has performed a major service in putting this new orchestra together, and is especially gifted in directing all the facets of Philadelphia Sinfonia.

The orchestra was in excellent hands with Assistant Conductor and Orchestra Manager Danielle Garrett conducting the March from the English Folk Song Suite of Vaughan Williams. It’s obvious how in control of the music and orchestra Garrett and White are, yet how fond of the young musicians they are.

Darin Kelly soloed in Leroy Anderson’s A Trumpeter’s Lullaby, leaving me thinking two things: what a supple, exquisite sound Kelly has, and what a brilliant scorer Anderson is. It was a delight to hear. The trumpeter had extra incentive for the performance, as his son Eamon plays in the bass section.

Our daughter Martina has the honor of leading the horn section. Even though I’ve heard her practice, the difficulty and beauty of her playing didn’t hit me fully until hearing this concert. I know I’m like every other parent in that regard.

But the Intermezzo from the Bizet just isn’t fair. It’s a mini-concerto for horn. I glanced at White’s score after the concert to double-check and sure enough, she’s playing just about every bar: solos, solos with clarinet, doubling the basses, doubling the violins, high, low, more solos… I’m frankly awed by all the musicians in the Sinfonia Players, but I have renewed respect for horn players everywhere, and astonishment for my daughter’s talent.

If she starts speaking German, I quit.

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