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CSO, Kind of Blue, Jazzes Up the Joint

    Posted: Apr 22, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
We know the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra isn't just a big band, but a Big Band? In its Pops incarnation with conductor Erich Kunzel, it often is, but it was CSO music director Paavo Järvi's turn Friday night at Music Hall. He did it complete with blue lighting and amplification, again nothing the Pops hasn't done, but on a CSO subscription concert the twain rarely meet. Guest artist in Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" was pianist Wayne Marshall. CSO principal clarinetist Richard Hawley was soloist in Bernstein's brilliant, bebop-influenced "Prelude, Fugue and Riffs."   - [Read more]

Anna Polusmiak Fulfills Promise

    Posted: Apr 20, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
If the metaphor fits wear it. Just back from The Netherlands where a critic dubbed her a "keyboard lioness," pianist Anna Polusmiak did just that Thursday night at Music Hall. Given her lithe, powerful performance of Rachmaninoff’s "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" with the Cincinnati Symphony led by Paavo Järvi, it seemed no exaggeration to liken the 23-year-old, Ukrainian born Northern Kentuckian to a pianistic queen of the veldt.   - [Read more]

Mozart Mix at Linton

    Posted: Apr 10, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Following on the heels of two superb, all-Mozart concerts by the Cincinnati Symphony Friday and Saturday at Music Hall, the Linton Chamber Music Series presented its own Mozart tribute Sunday afternoon at First Unitarian Church in Avondale. Three of the same artists took part, violinist/conductor Jaime Laredo, pianist Benjamin Hochman and CSO principal bassoonist William Winstead.   - [Read more]

Audience, CSO Players Welcome Laredo

    Posted: Apr 8, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra needs a principal guest conductor (the orchestra has been without one since Ivan Fischer left in 1995).  A splendid candidate stood before the CSO Friday night at Music Hall, violinist/conductor Jaime Laredo, who led a superb, all-Mozart program. Founding conductor of the CSO's popular "Bach and Beyond" series (discontinued in 2004 for budgetary reasons) Laredo stepped before the players as if he had never left. Also benefiting from the relationship was Israeli pianist Benjamin Hochman, who shone in his CSO debut.   - [Read more]

Distant Light, Distant View

    Posted: Mar 31, 2006 - 1:22:45 PM in: reviews_2006
The gallery was open at Friday morning's Cincinnati Symphony concert at Music Hall. Not just the top level of seats, but musically as well, in the program selected by French guest conductor Stephane Deneve. The first half of the concert comprised pictures in music by Deneve's compatriots Claude Debussy and Guillaume Connesson. Guest artist was pianist Nicholas Angelich, who illuminated the second half with "absolute music" Brahms' Piano concerto No. 2
(first published in The Cincinnati Post April 1, 2006.   - [Read more]

Love in the Air at 2006 Cincinnati May Festival

    Posted: Mar 20, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
The 2006 Cincinnati May Festival opened Friday night at Music Hall with a song of brotherhood, a lusty ode to love and some of the best singing one could hope for. Led by music director James Conlon, the concert began with a world premiere, Adolphus Hailstork's "Earthrise," a "free fantasy" inspired by Schiller's "Ode to Joy" and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana." Performers included Detroit's Brazeal Dennard Chorale, sopranos Cynthia Haymon and Norah Amsellem, tenor Rodrick Dixon, baritone Lester Lynch, the May Festival Chorus and Youth Chorus, Cincinnati Children's Choir and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.   - [Read more]

Norrington, CSO Prove Less is More

    Posted: Feb 26, 2006 - 9:57:30 PM in: reviews_2006
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Sir Roger Norrington
Sir Roger Norrington, guru of period performance practice, made his debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Feb. 24 at Music Hall in music from three centuries.  From Haydn's Symphony No. 104 ("London") to Ralph Vaughan-Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in between, he demonstrated that performing music as their composers expected to hear it, instead of through a modern lens, can be both revealing and highly rewarding.

  - [Read more]

CCM's "Albert Herring" Edgy but Funny

    Posted: Feb 12, 2006 - 11:05:10 AM in: reviews_2006
Benjamin Britten's "Albert Herring" is updated to post-World War II Britain in this thought-provoking version by the opera department of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  Directed by Nicholas Muni, it's funny and not funny, and there are many insights into the (iimplied) dark side of the supposed comedic work (first published in The Cincinnati Post Feb. 11, 2006)
  - [Read more]

CSO/Järvi Potent Partnership

    Posted: Jan 21, 2006 - 11:17:43 PM in: reviews_2006
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Paavo Järvi
In four years of working together, Paavo Jarvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra have achieved a working relationship perhaps unmatched in the world today.  This was displayed to splendid advantage Jan. 19 at Music Hall in orchestral showpieces by Britten ("Young Person's Guild to the Orchestra") and Elgar ("Enigma Variations").  Guest artist Garrick Ohlsson multiplied the impression in Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor (first published in The Cincinnati Post Jan. 20, 2006).
  - [Read more]

New Year Dawns at the CSO

    Posted: Jan 16, 2006 - 10:35:24 PM in: reviews_2006
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Pierre-Laurent Aimard
For their first concert of 2006, Paavo Jarvi and the Cincinnati symphony Orchestra drew upon Benjamin Britten's colorful Four Sea Interludes from "Peter Grimes."  The painterly concert also included Hindemith's "Mathis der Mahler" Symphony and Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand featuring French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard in his CSO debut (first published in The Cincinnati Post Jan. 15, 2006).
  - [Read more]

Heroes, Heroines, Wizards, Monsters

    Posted: Mar 30, 2005 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
It’s all here. Well, almost. Kunzel and the Pops have distilled music from a dozen films into 60-minutes worth of heroes, heroines, wizards and monsters on this new Telarc release. Excerpts from "Star Wars, "Harry Potter" and "The Lord of the Rings" recall to the mind’s ear a parade of fantasy folk, including Luke, Leia, Yoda and Anakin, Harry, Hermione and Dumbledore, Frodo, Gandalf and Legolas. It’s a John Williams feast ("Star Wars," "Harry Potter") with a dessert of Howard Shore and Enya ("Lord of the Rings").   - [Read more]