The five BSO members on stage talked about their music as well as playing it, and developed a keen rapport with the audience.
Bach's Contrapunctus No. I and IX got the afternoon off to a slow start, and the third piece, Morgenmusik from Ploner Musiktag by Hindemith had its moments of lost clarity too. Albinoni's Sonata, Op. 6, No. 11, Concerto San Marco, was a delight, however, the interplay of musical voices in the Allegro especially alluring. Trumpeter Michael Martin's own work, Cycle Miniature, was complex as well as powerfully rhythmic and played with great skill. Arnold's Brass Quintet No. 1, Op. 73, ended the afternoon with a display of color and fire.
A couple of student performances preceded the BSO players: middle-schooler Alisa Crueger-Cain was striking in her bold solo in the Andante -- Allegro from the Ropartz Trumpet Concerto.
It was an engaging and educational afternoon, and a welcome event some 10 years since the previous BSO players' visit to Lowell. Surprisingly, for a concert at Lowell High, the audience was predominantly older. Only a handful of students were present. Seven of them were sitting together and having a good time. Only one of them had ever been to a professional classical performance before, so this was a special opportunity for them.
"Loud and clear!" enthused John Lanier Jr.
"Extraordinary," said Ethan Baez who plays trombone. His sister, student clarinetist Cassandra Baez, said it was "important" that the BSO come to Lowell.