Rachmaninoff caps eclectic eve
WITH A kaleidoscope of timbres, sinuous melodies, virtuosity and intriguing rhythms, the Honolulu Symphony presented an eclectic concert on Friday. The variety of the program, and for that matter of all programs of this season, has made our listening rendezvous a series of very pleasant experiences.
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Tickets: $12 to $65
Call: 792-2000 or Ticketmaster at (877) 750-4400
Hungarian composer Bartók, Frenchman Saint-Saëns and Russian Rachmaninoff don't have much in common except the ability to make their scores flicker with powerful sounds. Supple and enthusiastic on the podium, conductor JoAnn Falletta brought out the best from the orchestra. Her greatest effort, however, was the last work of the evening, Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances."
Originally written for two pianos, this orchestral masterpiece features the alto saxophone, Todd Yukumoto, whose full sound was a pleasure to hear in the middle of the first movement. The oboe/clarinet exchange was also well-presented by Brian Greene* and Scott Anderson, while, as usual, flautist Susan McGinn performed on her instrument with skill and great sensibility.
The trumpets in the waltz section did a great job as well, and the percussionists -- armed with instruments both small (triangle and tambourine) and large (snare drum to xylophone, bells and timpani) -- impressed the audience with their admirable precision. Although the work had a dark, expressive feel, the concert ended on a very buoyant note.
PRECEDING the "Symphonic Dances," Chee-Yun Kim performed the last of Saint-Saëns' violin concertos on her renowned Ruggieri violin, made in 1669 in Cremona, Italy. The Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61, now well-established in the international repertory, treats the violin as the prima donna, and Chee-Yun displayed her skill and presence as one, too. As Saint-Saëns wrote, the concerto's outer movements are "characterized by somber determination," while over the middle movement "the spring sun smiles."
The variety in the melodic plan of Saint-Saëns' work offered the world-renowned Korean-born violinist a showcase for her virtuoso ability and the quality of her expressiveness. From a gypsy style in the first movement, to the barcarolle in the second, and a church-like chorale in the last, she emerged as a brilliant performer.
After being called back onstage several times, she played a fantastic encore, a movement from Bach's Sonata No. 3 in C major. Not only did she bring out her most delicate interpretation, she made the audience yearn for more Baroque and intimate music, something the symphony should consider adding to its varied programs in the oncoming seasons.
Valeria Wenderoth has a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she also teaches.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
» The oboe soloist in Friday's Honolulu Symphony Orchestra performance was Brian Greene. An incorrect name was listed in a concert review on Page A2 Sunday.