You-review-it Tuesday

February 28, 2012
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For me, the weekend included the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson tribute, college productions of "Godspell" and "Tartuffe," and an evening with the Oscars. (Did you follow my live tweets?)

What about you? What did you hear, see, or otherwise do on the A&E front last weekend?

  • Chris Botti
    Chris Botti and his amazing band put on a dazzling show at the Palladium Saturday night. Chris is an IU School of Music alum, and it was nice to see that David and Lida Baker were in the audience. Baker was a mentor to Chris and is probably the best known jazz educator around. I have seen a couple of his concerts, and Chris has never sounded better from a trumpet perspective. He has fine range, a wonderful variety of nuances to his sound, excellent facility and technique, and the endurance to play a 2 hour concert with no intermission. Lisa Fisher was a guest vocalist, and she could carry off a full concert on her own. Her range, both high and low, is extraordinary; her pitch is incredible, especially when she and Chris traded licks in the high range, and her emotional connection to the lyrics was intense.
    I also heard the Wednesday night concert of the Tchaikovsky St. Petersburg Orchestra with piano soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Thibaudet is a masterful pianist, and his performance of the Liszt Second Concerto was the highlight of the evening in every way. His phrasing and articulation at the keyboard made this performance more than just technical wizardry, which is the limit of so many Liszt performances. The orchestra, especially the fine principal cellist, and conductor did a very nice job with the difficult accompaniment. The rest of the concert did not fare as well. The orchestra opened with the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan, and it seemed tightly controlled and almost without passion, which is what the opera is all about. Pictures at an Exhibition was the second half of the concert and again it was a rather bland and at times sloppy reading. The conductor again seemed to be mostly beating time rather than crafting the sound and interpretation. To my surprise, the audience gave the piece a standing ovation. Many obviously disagreed with my view of the performance.
    On Sunday we were back at the Palladium for the Amazing Race concert of the Indiana Wind Symphony. No review of this one since I was conducting! I just want to take the opportunity to mention that it was the one year anniversary of our first Palladium concert, and we are so thrilled to play in such a wonderful venue. The entire staff and stage crew are just as great as the building, and it is always great to play with piano soloist Kelleen Strutz, who is one of Indy's finest musicians.
  • Botti was AMAZING!
    I have seen over many many performances at The Palladium and I am eager to say that Chis Botti was in a class by himself. Quite simply the most engaging, entertaining, and simply magnificent performer to take the stage yet in this spectacular concert hall. Naysayers be damn, I congratulate Mayor Brainard's vision that allows me to share evenings like this with my family - and yes, I am a Carmel home owner & tax payer.

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