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Violinist Corey Cerovsek and conductor Rossen Milanov deliver strong performance with VSO

Violinist and mathematician Corey Cerovsek received a standing ovation for his performance at the Orpheum on Saturday.

Vancouver-born international violinist Corey Cerovsek and conductor Rossen Milanov delivered an unforgettable evening of music by Debussy, Korngold and Berlioz at the Orpheum on Saturday.

The show part of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's "Masterworks Diamond" series, featuring great music, performed by world-renowned guest artists

The first piece on the program was Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which was performed in a dream-like fashion.

"Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" is a symphonic poem and one of most important compositions in the impressionist style. The piece is a milestone in music history, and it was well-executed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The flutist, in particular, was a standout, playing her part beautifully with a lush tone. 

Next on the program was Corey Cerovsek performing Korngold's Violin Concerto. A virtuoso violinist, mathematician, and pianist, Cerovsek played heartily, with a gorgeous vibrato. His emotional sensibility came through in the warmth and vibrancy of his tone.

The orchestra and the soloist seemed a bit disjointed at times during the third movement. The timing between the soloist and the orchestra at certain points made it sound as if the orchestra was trying to catch up to the soloist. 

Nevertheless, the movement sounded energetic, playful and uplifting. Overall, the VSO's performance of the concerto was outstanding, full of different layers of emotion.

Cerovsek returned to the stage four times to a standing ovation, and played a Bach Adagio as an encore.

Korngold was an Austro-Hungarian composer, famous both for his exceptionally good film scores for Hollywood movies and his concert hall music.

Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz was performed with rare animation and character. The conductor, Rossen Milanov, did a spectacular job of interpretation and delivery of the piece. Milanov, originally from Bulgaria, is hailed as one of the most important figures in the new generation of conductors, and is the music director of Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

His style of conducting was not one that VSO members usually witness. It was very bold and vibrant, filled with imagination. Milanov is a truly gifted musician and his passion for music was evident through his boundless energy and mindfulness throughout the concert, which took more than two hours.

Symphonie Fantastique is a program symphony, which Berlioz wrote to impress Harriet Smith, an actress he had fallen in love with. Throughout the work there is an "idée fixe", a melody that appears in all movements of the work. This melody symbolizes Berlioz's feelings for his beloved. The symphony was premiered in 1830, just six years after Beethoven's 9th was premiered, and the influence of Beethoven is obvious in the compositional technique.

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