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Freedom Subject of "One City One Symphony"

Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: Nov 14, 2015 - 2:11:46 PM in reviews_2015

Regina Taylor
Freedom was the subject of this season's "One City, One Symphony program by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Nov. 13 at Music Hall. On the podium was CSO music director Louis Langrée.

   Carrying out that theme perfectly and adding to the distinction of the event was the world premiere of Short Works Based on the Poetry of Dr. Maya Angelou: “Equality” by Jonathan Bailey Holland, “Elegy” by T.J. Cole and “Forgive” by Kristen Kuster.      

   All are CSO commissions. Providing a stirring narration was Regina Taylor.

   Holland’s “Equality” had a dark, even ominous beginning, climbing upward, then beginning again in the opposite direction.  “I lie down in my grave and watch my children grow” it reads, before reaching a climax and then a soft ending.

   Cole’s “Elegy” opened with a trumpet fanfare, building to a big climax: “Equality and I will be free,” it reads.

   “Forgive” by Kristen Kuster had a downright spooky beginning, maintaining a steady heart beat to the end. “Take me, Virginia, bind me close with Jamestown memories of camptown races and ships pregnant with certain cargo.”

   Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony provided a fine contrast to the new music on the program. Langrée led a transparent, richly colored performance of the familiar favorite (last performed on CSO subscription concerts in 2007).

    Outstanding was Chris Philpotts’ tender performance of the English horn solo in the famous Largo.

   The concert opened with an elegant performance of the “Leonore” Overture No. 2 in C Major by Beethoven.