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Messiaen and Beckett: CONCERT:NOVA Contrasts Hope and Despair

    Posted: Dec 20, 2008 - 7:05:12 PM in: reviews_2008
Julianna Bloodgood as (L to R) Vladimir and Estragon in "Waiting for Godot"
The chamber group CONCERT:NOVA comprising members of the Cincinnati Symphony and Chamber Orchestras remained the most creative artistic venture in town with its latest presentation, "Waiting for the End of Time."  The multi-media event, which took place December 19 in Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, contrasted Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time" with abstracts from Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" and visuals featuring actress Juliana Bloodgood in all four roles of the play.  The performance also celebrated the centennial of Messiaen's birth.

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Guerrero, Pegis Warm Up Winter at Music Hall

    Posted: Dec 20, 2008 - 10:39:39 AM in: reviews_2008
Giancarlo Guerrero
The dreariness of winter drew considerable warmth from guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero and the Cincinnati Symphony December 18 at Music Hall.  It was the CSO debut of the Costa Rican born conductor, who moves from the Eugene (Oregon) Symphony to become music director in Nashville next season. The program included "Winter" from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," given a seasonally spirited performance by CSO principal second violinist Gabriel Pegis and, just in time for Christmas, Rossini/Respighi's "La boutique fantasque" ("The Fantastic Toyshop").  Guerrero displayed his individuality most, perhaps, in a reading of Prokofiev's "Classical" Symphony that elevated lightness and charm over satire.

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Consolo a Find on Kentucky Symphony's "Handel with Care"

    Posted: Nov 24, 2008 - 1:20:02 PM in: reviews_2008
Tom Consolo at a computer terminal in the Cincinnati Post newsroom at 125 E. Court St. on the Post's last day of publication Dec. 31, 2007 (photo by Mary Ellyn Hutton)
Thomas Consolo, associate conductor of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, has led education and parks concerts, served as the KSO's program annotator, librarian, personnel manager and since its founding in 1992, principal second violin.  A physics major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until he decided to follow his muse, he also served as copy editor, page designer, assistant business editor and all-around computer whiz for The Cincinnati Post until it closed in December, 2007.  Conductor Consolo made his KSO subscription concert debut Nov. 22 and 23 at Greaves Hall on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.  The all-Handel program boasted a couple of firsts and several finds.  One of the finds was Consolo himself.

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Rivers, Cleve's Bach Sublime: Earthshine to Break Dancing

    Posted: Nov 22, 2008 - 2:51:41 PM in: reviews_2008
Earl Rivers
Earl Rivers and ensembles of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music walked the cutting edge at Knox Presbyterian Church Nov. 21 in a multi-media performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor.  The event marked the first showing since its world premiere at the Bach Oregon Festival in 2006 of German filmmaker Bastian Cleve's film "The Sound of Eternity" inspired by Bach's music and created to accompany live performance of the work. 

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"The Planets" As You've Never Heard Them

    Posted: Nov 21, 2008 - 3:37:06 PM in: reviews_2008
Always a hit and perpetual fodder for film scores, Gustav Holst's "The Planets" is a wealth of orchestral color and detail just waiting to be exploited.  Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra did just that Nov. 20 at Music Hall.  Guest artist for the concert was the superb young violinist Julia Fischer in Dvorak's Violin Concerto.

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U.C. Dean Personifies Link Between Music and Medicine

    Posted: Nov 17, 2008 - 11:10:16 PM in: reviews_2008
Dr. David Stern
Music is not only good medicine.  It is also linked with medicine, whose practitioners often fill the ranks of talented amateur musicians.  University of Cincinnati College of Medicine dean David Stern is a good example, having laid aside his clarinet for a stethoscope after studies with Leon Russianoff of the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music, and serving as principal clarinet of the American Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski.  Stern, who has taken out his clarinet again, performed Mozart's Clarinet Concerto with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra led by music director Misha Santora Nov. 16 at Anderson Center in Cincinnati's Anderson Township. 

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Hanslip, Orchestral Splendor at the CSO

    Posted: Nov 16, 2008 - 4:00:27 PM in: reviews_2008
Chloe Hanslip
British violinist Chloe Hanslip was the subtle, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra the splendorous in an all-twentieth century program Nov. 15 at Music Hall.  Hanslip, 21, in her CSO debut brought an under-stated Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1.  CSO music director Paavo Järvi led the CSO in performances of Stravinsky's "Petrouchka" and Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber" that were anything but.  Hindemith's 1943 showpiece will be recorded by Telarc.

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Estonian Choir, Chamber Orchestra Resplendent in Cincinnati Debut

    Posted: Nov 12, 2008 - 2:56:39 PM in: reviews_2008
Tõnu Kaljuste
Choral singing is unmatched in the Baltic countries.  Proof positive came to Cincinnati with the local debut of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir Nov. 11 at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.  Demonstrating comparable excellence was the choir's companion ensemble, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.  The program of Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Vivaldi was led by the dynamic founder of both groups, Tõnu Kaljuste.
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Brahms Britten Program Filled With Meaning

    Posted: Nov 8, 2008 - 1:12:29 PM in: reviews_2008
Brahms' "German Requiem" is not often heard on Cincinnati Symphony concerts, the choral/orchestral literature being tacitly confined to Cincinnati's May Festival.  The normally May-time-only visitor helped fill the CSO's Nov. 7 concert with meaning, especially when paired with Britten's Sinfornia da Requiem.  CSO music director Paavo Järvi conducted, with the May Festival Chorus, baritone Matthias Goerne and soprano Heidi Grant Murphy.
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Grin's Tchaikovsky Revelatory

    Posted: Nov 2, 2008 - 8:40:29 PM in: reviews_2008
Leonid Grin rehearsing the Cincinnati Symphony (photo by David Phillippi)
Guest conductor Leonid Grin showed his audience a new, more human side to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in his Cincinnati Symphony debut Oct. 31 at Music Hall.  Violinist Tai Murray, making her Music Hall debut on the same concert, added a silken, understated performance of Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto
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Woolf's "Wild Things" a Rumpus at CAC

    Posted: Nov 1, 2008 - 12:29:57 AM in: reviews_2008
New York composer Randall Woolf and German illustrator Till Lassmann were a perfect match in concert:nova's Halloween's Eve performance of "Where the Wild Things Are" at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.  Woolf's diverse 40-minute score, written for the American Repertory Ballet in 1997, took on new life with projections of Lassmann's vibrant color drawings of a slightly older and even more mischievous Max. (first published in The Cincinnati Enquirer Oct. 31, 2008)
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Gourmet Mussorgsky

    Posted: Oct 22, 2008 - 1:06:54 PM in: reviews_2008
Hear all that Mussorgsky (with help from Rimsky-Korsakoff and  Ravel) wrote on this new Telarc CD by Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra comprising "Night on Bald Mountain," "Pictures at an Exhibition" and Prelude to Khovanshchina." Personality, transparency, attention to detail and first rate performances make this a gourmet choice.  In the spirit of the witching season, the CSO and Telarc have made "Night on Bald Mountain" available for free download on iTunes.  Link is  http://www.cincinnatisymphony.org/media/freedownload.asp  

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Neeme Järvi Returns Taneyev to Chicago

    Posted: Oct 20, 2008 - 3:02:03 AM in: reviews_2008
Neeme Järvi
It's been 91 years since his overture to "Oresteia," but Russian composer Sergei Taneyev returned to the Chicago Symphony October 19 at Orchestra Hall.  Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi did the honors, giving the composer's 1898 Symphony No. 4 a superb CSO premiere.  Joining Järvi and the Chicagoans in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 was Yefim Bronfman.  It was a stirring performance, not quite deja vu, since Bronfman and Järvi made their joint debut with the Chicago Symphony in 1985 in the Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2.

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Dreams Can Come True: Gilbert Kaplan and Mahler

    Posted: Oct 19, 2008 - 3:47:25 PM in: reviews_2008
Gilbert Kaplan
Gilbert Kaplan is something like a fairy tale prince.  He fell in love at first sight and didn't rest until he won the objection of his affections (Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2).  An amateur in the best sense of the word ("lover"), Kaplan led the U.S. premiere of his and co-editor Renate Stark-Voit's new critical edition of the score with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Oct. 18 and 19 at Music Hall in Cincinnati.

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Recordings Roundup: Bremen Beethoven

    Posted: Oct 15, 2008 - 1:59:24 AM in: reviews_2008
Beethoven is the "immortal beloved" of the recording industry (to borrow the composer's address to the love of his life), with seemingly everyone on board at one time or another with a cycle of his works.  Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen are making their own distinct and distinguished contribution.  Their latest discs, second and third of a complete set of Beethoven symphonies for RCA Red Seal, pair No. 4 and 7 and No. 5 and 1.
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