BWW Reviews: NEW WORLD SYMPHONY Caps a Program of Virtuoso Performances
Watching any act of creation unfold can be as gratifying and inspiring as observing the final product. Every work in progress involves a series of adjustments and refinements and a unique interaction between the creator and the medium. So it is in the preparation of a concert that one can observe the chemistry of collaboration between conductor and musicians. In this regard, I was fortunate to get an advance look at The Phoenix Symphony's program for November 28th and 29th.
When JoAnn Falletta, hailed by the New York Times "one of the finest conductors of her generation," steps to the maestro's podium to engage the Phoenix Symphony as guest conductor in a program of Borodin, Prokofiev, and Dvorak, the energy of her authority sweeps the stage. She wields the conductor's baton with an air of conviction and intensity that is matched in due turn by the robust and respectful response of the musicians.
The product is a series of rich and robust interpretations that are sure to please the audience.
The program opens with Alexander Borodin's Overture to Prince Igor.
It closes with Antonín Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World. It was the third movement, molto vivace, to which I was treated, and Ms. Falletta's direction does not disappoint. The piece is eclectic in that its opening notes echo the pulsating tempo of Beethoven's Ninth, its themes vibrate with optimism and evoke the wide open spaces of the early American frontier, and its rhythms fuse those of the composer's native Bohemia with those of Native Americans. Indeed, Dvo?ák's inspiration for the scherzo derived from scene at the feast in Hiawatha.
However, it is the work between the two ~ Sergei Prokofiev's Concerto No. 1 in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 19 ~ that invites special acknowledgement because of the virtuoso performance by Chloë Hanslip. She dives into the piece with fiery determination and manages complex transitions in momentum with what appear to be divinely inspired hands.
I only wish that time had allowed me to enjoy the full and final production. I have no doubt it merited a standing ovation.
Photo credit to Phoenix Symphony