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Christmas Music at Its Best

    Posted: Dec 18, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
Some things just have class.
One of them is the Vocal Arts Ensemble led by music director Earl Rivers.  The holiday season -- any season -- would be much poorer without them, as they demonstrated at their annual holiday concert Sunday afternoon at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral
(first published in The Cincinnati Post Dec. 17, 2007).   - [Read more]

Penderecki Concerto Refreshes Piano Repertoire

    Posted: Dec 8, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
The piano, and today's concert audiences, need a rest from the overplayed 19th and 20th-century repertoire. Relief may be on the way in the form of a 21st-century concerto by septuagenarian Krzysztof Penderecki, whose 2001-02 Piano Concerto received its world premiere in a newly revised (2007) version Friday night at Music Hall (first published in The Cincinnati Post Dec. 7, 2007).   - [Read more]

Schubertiade in Cincinnati

    Posted: Nov 19, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
"Schubertiade." Nokuthula Ngwenyama. Arpeggione.
   The words may have needed some definition, but the musical message was clear at Sunday afternoon's Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra concert at Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine.
  - [Read more]

CSO Chamber Players Ace Stravinsky

    Posted: Nov 18, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
  The Cincinnati Symphony will “encore” its two-week, just-concluded Stravinsky Festival with his blockbuster “Rite of Spring” on the final concerts of the CSO season May 2 and 3 at Music Hall.
   As for the CSO Chamber Players, who actually had the last word on the festival Friday night at Memorial Hall, we can only hope 
(first published in The Cincinnati Post Nov. 17, 2007). Stacey Woolley   - [Read more]

Mozart, Mahler Make Perfect Pairing

    Posted: Nov 16, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
If I had been able to choose, I doubt I could have come up with a more fitting program for my last concert reviewing music director Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony for the Cincinnati Post.  Järvi, paired Mozart's sunny Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major with the neurotic, chronically unhappy Mahler's Symphony No. 7, which ends in a state of wild euphoria.

  - [Read more]

Cellist Eric Kim Does Honor to Rostropovich

    Posted: Nov 10, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Eric Kim did honor to
the greatest cellist of the 20th century (and probably any century)
Friday night at Music Hall. Kim was featured soloist in Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, dedicated, as was the entire CSO concert, to the memory of Mstislav Rostropovich who died last spring.
  - [Read more]

Beethoven for Today: Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

    Posted: Nov 8, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
Every conductor wants to record Beethoven's symphonies at least once.
Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen bring him into the 21st century with Nos. 3 and 8, first installment of their new Beethoven cycle for RCA.

  - [Read more]

Stravinsky Behind the Mask

    Posted: Nov 3, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
Igor Stravinsky lied.  Famously known for having declared that "music is by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all," he used the mask of objectivity to craft his own powerful means of expression.  Paavo Jarvi, the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra packed an expressive punch in his Symphony of Psalms that may have been beyond words, but certainly not beyond his music.
  - [Read more]

Two Sides of Tchaikovsky

    Posted: Oct 18, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
If you like Tchaikovsky -- and who doesn't? -- you might want to give these new recordings by the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras a spin when they hit the stores Oct. 23.  Both are from Telarc.   - [Read more]

"Rise for Freedom" Brings Parker's Struggle to Life

    Posted: Oct 16, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
“This opera is destroying the Uncle Tom stereotype,” said Diane Tweedle, great-great granddaughter of John P. Parker, hero of “Rise for Freedom” by Adolphus Hailstork, given its world premiere by Cincinnati Opera Saturday night in Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center.
   Commissioned by Cincinnati Opera, “Rise for Freedom” depicts a black man fighting aggressively against slavery (in contrast to the unfairly negative connotation associated with the long-suffering Tom in Harriett Beecher Stowe’s novel)
(first published in The Cincinnati Post Oct. 15, 2007).   - [Read more]

Järvi Loses Baton But Doesn't Miss a Beat

    Posted: Oct 13, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
The Boy Scout motto, "be prepared," must be Cincinnati Symphony music director Paavo Järvi's motto, too.  Though it wasn't the most stirring thing that happened at Thursday evening's CSO concert at Music Hall, it did cause a moment of concern
when Järvi's baton struck his music stand and flew into the cello section as guest artist Vadim Repin and the CSO neared the end of Beethoven's Violin Concerto
(first published in The Cincinnati Post Oct. 12, 2007) .   - [Read more]

The Cincinnati Symphony Reaches Out

    Posted: Oct 9, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007, news_2007
A smile can be worth a thousand words and the one Paavo Järvi cast over his shoulder during a Cincinnati Symphony concert at Lakota Freshman School in West Chester Oct. 9 was one of them.   - [Read more]

Viva Italia, Eddins and Dindo

    Posted: Oct 7, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
When the history of 20th-century music is written, it likely will confirm that some of its greatest scores were written for motion pictures.  Italian composer Nino Rota (1911-79), a favorite of director Federico Fellini, who also wrote for Franco Zeffirelli and Francis Ford Coppola, is one of them. Guest conductor William Eddins brought his Symphony No. 2, "Anni di pellegrinaggio -- Tarantina," to Friday night's Cincinnati Symphony audience at Music Hall (first published in The Cincinnati Post Oct. 6, 2007).   - [Read more]

Cincinnati Symphony Hosts Middle Earth Convention

    Posted: Sep 30, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
It may be a long way back to recapture audiences lost to classical music through the disappearance of music education from the schools, changing lifestyles and perceptions of elitism, but the way back may be through places like Middle-earth. The average age at Saturday night’s performance of Howard Shore’s “Lord of the Rings Symphony” by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall
appeared much younger than the normal mid-50s demographic
(first published in The Cincinnati Post Oct. 1, 2007).   - [Read more]

KSO Steps Up, Meets Challenge

    Posted: Sep 29, 2007 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2007
Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) presents many challenges:  musical, logistical, physical, even financial, considering the huge forces specified in the score (over 100 players, including the “largest possible” contingent of strings, plus chorus and soloists).
   Happily, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and music director James R. Cassidy met those challenges Friday night in Greaves Concert Hall at Northern Kentucky University.
  - [Read more]