There are times when the orchestra's sound is so fine — indeed, flawless — that it takes the form of the otherworldly. That delicate sound just floats above the stage at the whim of the conductor's fingertips, its invisible ghostly resonance seemingly of a mysterious origin.
And as amazing as everything else can be, these rare moments of quiet orchestral perfection strike me hardest. They're moments I wish I could relive. Freeze-frame. Return at needed opportune times.
That's how I best remember the refined grace of the fabled Vienna Philharmonic on Thursday night in Costa Mesa at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Vienna's sold-out visit to O.C. — thanks to the Philharmonic Society of Orange County — was a rare one, having been the Austrian group's first local performance since 2002 and, before that, 1997.
The orchestra, which dates to 1842, is storied as one of the world's best. It's no wonder why: In addition to achieving seamless, balanced tonal quality among the various orchestral elements large and small, its sound is like none other.