Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Leonard Slatkin conducts two world premieres & Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony – Yevgeny Kutik plays Joseph Schwantner’s Violin Concerto
Oct 17, 2021 | Concert Reviews, Videos | 0 comments
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Orchestra Hall, Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
For the third time of asking during this DSO subscription week Leonard Slatkin (music director laureate) introduced new works from two senior composers, Samuel Adler and Joseph Schwantner.
Adler’s fifteen-minute Mirror Images, for full orchestra, proved diverting in its alternations of slow and fast, seriousness and humour, mysterious suggestiveness/sad lyricism and full-on dance routines; Bernstein, Hindemith (especially) and Shostakovich are in the mix, but Adler is clearly his own man, and it was good to see the ninety-three-year-old composer in the audience belying his age.
Schwantner’s thirty-five-minute Violin Concerto, written for Yevgeny Kutik, is a compelling piece. No less colourful in terms of scoring, if reducing heavy brass (two trumpets, one trombone) while including a piano and a harp and using percussion subtly and variedly. During the fascinating first movement, which opens darkly, it would be pointless to second-guess what happens next, but the transformations are made inevitable. The second and final movement, beginning dramatically, is animated and beguilingly detailed, fading to dusky reminiscences, then rising to affirmation. Kutik (a violinist new to me and quite a find) gave a technically brilliant, rich-toned and musically intense performance, Slatkin in total control of the mosaic-like orchestration. As for the piece itself, it needs to be listened to again to fully appreciate the many facets; however, even if it’s perhaps too easy a reference, if you love Barber’s Violin Concerto, you’ll love the Schwantner, and he too was present.
Colin Anderson, Classical Sources – Colin Anderson Read Complete Review