Chico Symphony Orchestra and internationally known horn player Thomas Bacon's
performance Saturday night was classy and professionally brassy. The walls of Laxson
Auditorium reflected Bacon's gold French Horn and projected the sounds of Mozart, Plog and
Conductor David Colson arranged "Around the Horn," Saturday evening's musical
line-up, so that it was a mixture of light entertainment and intense orchestration.
The performance began with an all brass selection by the name of "Floreado de
trumpetas," written by Colson. This was a gutsy move on Colson's part since
"Floreado" was a rather modern, minor and intentionally discorded opening
The brass section produced some high octave warbles, but came out on top when the
French Horns answered the trumpets' echo with a powerful harmonious reply. Mozart's
"Horn Concerto No. 3 in E-flat Major" introduced Bacon's solo performance.
Bacon played the three movements without a flaw and displayed an amazing ability to
play a bellowing fortissimo and then whisper a clear pianissimo with one breath. The
stacatto notes in the third movement, "Allegro," were precise and grand. The
next arrangement was Plog's premiere orchestral version of "Five Aesop's
This piece was specifically arranged for Bacon's horn and narrating voice Bacon's
narration was cleverly animated with a creative ability to produce different voices for
each of Aesop's animals.
The fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare" was particularly humorous when
Bacon's slow, lazy tortoise voice answered his hyperactive hare impression. Each fable was
accompanied by the symphony's interpretation of the actions of each character within the
For example, in the fable "The Wind and the Sun," the brass section imitated
the sound of the wind by loudly blowing air through their instruments. Each fable ended
with a charming moral. The fifth fable, "The Mule," was about a young mule who
insisted that she could run faster than anyone else. The symphony matched her desperate
attempt to prove her speedy abilities by playing frantic scales and chase scene
accompaniment. The mule ended up wheezing and gasping as she remembered that even though
her mother was a race horse, her father was a donkey. The moral of the story was that
there are two sides to every truth.
Dvorak's "Symphony No. 8 in G Major," consisted of four majestic, bow
bouncing movements. The movements contained powerful Dvorak shine with a little twist. The
trumpet section in the first movement contributed a series of solemn muted notes, followed
by blasts of sound from the French horn. The second movement spotlighted the flutes, oboes
and clarinets and even contained a dramatic timpani roll. The fourth movement,
"Allegro ma non troppo," ended the program with a finale that produced shivers
amongst the audience.
Colson and the whole Orchestra's hair was bouncing and shaking furiously as they
performed the finishing touch of the evening. The crowd responded in enthusiastic applause
as Colson and Bacon came out together on stage to acknowledge their talent and skill.
Copyright © The Orion, Wednesday, March 8, 1995
Reprinted here with permission.