You-review-it Monday

May 14, 2012
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For me, the weekend included a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see the outdoor "Oedipus at Colonus" (see my review of "Oedipus Rex" here and a visit inside the IMA to see the newly reconfigured African art galleries (more on that soon).

I also took a Chicago drive to see the Goodman Theatre's powerful production of "The Iceman Cometh" starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy. On the way, I listed to a newly released recording of the play "8," based on transcripts from California's Proposition 8 legal battles. It features George Clooney, Brad Pitt and many others.

What about you? Did you get to hear James Bond music with the ISO? Catch Lainie Kazan at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club? Go see "The Avengers" for the third time?

What A&E did you encounter this weekend?

And, FYI, The first IBJ A&E Road Trip--a bus trip for IBJ A&E readers featuring unique arts experiences--will be announced later this week. Watch for it on the blog.

Your thoughts?

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  • Nashville Symphony and ICO
    On Thursday I heard the Nashville Symphony Orchestra at the Palladium with one of my very favorite conductors, Giancarlo Guerrero. The largest percussion setup I have ever seen was on stage for the concert opener, Percy Grainger's huge tone poem The Warriors. It calls for three piano, celeste, two harps, every mallet percussion instrument known to man and quite a bit more percussion yet. The pianists all play at the same time, and all three also use mallets on the strings. The massive sonority worked well in the hall. although the constant wall of sound approach lasted a little too long for my taste. The second work was a new piece from one of the composers who initiated minimalism in the 1960s, Terry Riley. The work, The Palmian Chord Ryddle, is scored for Electric Violin Soloist and Orchestra. The soloist in this case was also the creator of his unusual instrument. Tracey Silverman played a six-string instrument that added two lower strings that gave the violin range into the cello register. It is a big work, with several sections that the composer described as waves rather than architectural sections, and this is an apt way to put it. The soloist plays mostly melodic lines, and there was not as much experimentation as I expected there might be. It is not a piece that I would rush out to hear again, but it was certainly an interesting sonic experience. The second half of the concert consisted of Rachmaninoff's last work, the familiar Symphonic Dances. It was played with exuberance and a full texture, and the audience's strong reception was well deserved. The orchestra played an encore - the exciting last movement to Robert Sierra's Fourth Symphony. Guerrero and the ensemble really sparkled in these two works. This was a concert that they were taking to Carnegie Hall over the weekend.

    On Friday I heard a fine senior recital at Carmel High School that featured bassoonist Tom English, who is headed to the Oberlin Conservatory this Fall, and trumpeters Glen Dash and Jacob Hook, both of whom will be studying trumpet at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Works included the Fanfare for Two Trumpets of Anthony Plog, the Bassoon Concerto of CM von Weber, the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto played by Hook, and the Ewazen Trumpet Sonata played by Dash. Pianist John Glennon served as accompanist and the two trumpeters were joined by CHS Band Director Michael Pote for a rousing finale of Bugler's Holiday.

    Saturday night was the final concert of the season for the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and it featured violin soloist Andres Cardenas, whose day job is concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He showed a rich and dark sound in the opening so Prokofiev's Violin Concerto #2, and the blend and balance between soloist and ensemble was excellent throughout except for a curious moment of intonation difficulties in the low strings. There was some wonderful writing for the woodwind soloists - after all, this is the composer of Peter and the Wolf. The soloist created a fine range of tonal colors and emotions in this interesting and complex work. ICO Music Director Kirk Trevor conducted the concert, which opened with Schreker's Intermezzo for Strings. This was my first time to hear any of this German composer's works, and the Intermezzo is a fine late Romantic melodic movement with lovely violin solos that were performed by a guest concertmaster. Schreker was quite popular, especially as an opera composer early in the twentieth century, but was marginalized by the Nazis and died in 1934. His works are now being performed more frequently, and the Intermezzo is definitely a fine addition to the string orchestra repertoire. A spirited and fun performance of Haydn's Symphony #99 in Eb concluded the concert. This was Haydn's first symphony to use clarinets, and interestingly enough, he did not really employ them much with the oboes, bassoons and flute, particularly in the woodwind heavy trio to the minuet. They did get a couple of nice moments in the finale. Trevor's interpretation of this symphony was streamlined, with a brisk tempo in the minuet and a dashing finale. All in all a fine ending to the season.
    • thank you
      Thank you for your kind citizen review of the Nashville Symphony concert!
      - NVR, Social Media Strategist foe NSO

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