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Felix Mendelssohns Overture to Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde (The Son and Stranger):
A brief, merry piece, Mendelssohn’s Overture serves as a refreshing aperitif to whet the listener’s appetite. Written for his parent’s anniversary when he was twenty, Mendelssohn’s Overture is the first piece in his repertoire to demonstrate his potent command of composition. Light, springy, and strings oriented, the piece flows in a manner reminiscent of a sunny spring day spent frolicking through grassy, floral foothills or perhaps a leisurely sail on a warm blustery day.
Bohr’s Violin Concerto No. 8:
Ludwig Bohr’s Violin Concerto is definitely contrasts the joyful flowing nature of Mendelssohn. The piece isn’t necessarily tragic or foreboding, but rather is husky and serious. The guest Maria Larionoff gives an appropriate performance given the nature of the piece. Reserved and defiant of all exhibitionism, her performance naturally absorbs the subliminal tones of the piece and avoids succumbing to the exploitation of ducking, twisting, and sawing during moments of intensity and passion; a habit often misused by soloists.
With the violin perceived as an individual and the orchestra his thoughts and memories, a literal likening to the piece might remind one of a young man’s banishment, and his being ferried across a foggy river to land outside the city limits. As he drifts away he watches his friends and family disappear from the cloudy shore. This causes him to reflect upon the good times he shared with them, and then lament’s that he will never see them again. However, as he nears the bank he embraces the adventurous uncertainty and speculative prosperity of his life yet to come. Upon his landing he let the manifestation of optimistic bravado lead him to a possibly lighter future.
Orff’s Carmina Burana:
The Carmina Burana was the first symphonic event that I had ever attended in my history of patronizing Seattle Symphony. In 2006 it blew me away, and once again it did not fail to utterly captivate my soul. I could go on an explicit tirade pertaining to the deep sense of arousal that I am given by the piece; alas I wouldn’t be able to publish this review if I were to do so. To put it briefly and simply, the Carmina Burana is Tonal Erotica.
Based on a tome of 13th century Middle High German, Old French, and Latin poetry, the epic nature of the lyrics bore in the mind the glorified fantasy of the medieval age and combines it with the musical grandeur of late Romantic Movement. However, there are two flaws with the production, and both lie in the performances of the two soloists, soprano Terri Richter and tenor/baritone Paul Karatis.
Although Ms. Richter had moments of great power, she ultimately had too young a voice. Bright, choppy, and often shrill, her few moments of solo was unfortunately strained. On the other hand, Paul Karatis did not have technical difficulties rather than acoustic misfortunes. He suffered from two problems, the first was his projection. He was an intense and sincere performer, but I was sitting front and center and still found it difficult to hear him well. The other issue that troubled his deliverance was a nick in his throat that, sadly enough, led to a scratchy sound throughout the performance. By no means should Karatis be blamed for this situation, but it did impede his solidity.
It could be said that singling out an individuals performance is much easier than singling out an ensembles, but matter still lies that these few flaws mildly detracted from the performance.
Ultimately, I highly suggest seeing the Carmina Burana. From the beginning to the end it rocks the proverbial socks and not for one second will it disappoint.
- Tavis H.
Carmina Burana is closed
Next up at the symphony: Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony, Nov. 19 - 22