Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Phoenix Symphony, Jan 12, 2006

Sergei Prokofiev - Lieutenant Kije Suite
James MacMillan - Veni, veni Emmanuel
Antonin Dvorak - Symphony 7

Michael Christie, conductor
Colin Currie, percussion

The Prokofiev was a relatively late replacement for a Dvorak piece... I'm not a big fan of the Kije but whatever. The performance was fine but I can't think of anything to say about it.

James MacMillian's 1992 percussion concerto was quite interesting. Colin Currie started out playing a pair of gongs and moved on through a pair of pitched instruments (a marimba? virbrophone? I don't know) a trap-kit like set-up (played standing, though), ending with chimes. The best part was the third section (the piece is played without a break), Dance. The percussionist is at the trap-kit and the orchestra's accompaniment was very rhythmic... they just match so well. Throughout much of the rest of the piece I'm not sure how to describe the orchestral sound... somewhat minimalist and generically "modern" sounding.

After the intermission was the Dvorak symphony. The opening came off stilted, not as lyrical as I have normally heard that Allegro. As it went on, though, the playing slowly became more flowing. I read it as on purpose, as the tension in the opening movement was tighter than I have ever heard for that piece... and of course with all that tension the resolution was all the stronger.

The attendance was probably a little better than for the previous concerts but Symphony Hall still looked empty (or, rather, half full.) After last year's concerts at the Orpheum Theatre, though, Symphony Hall looks huge.


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