Saturday, November 18, 2006

CONCERT REVIEW: Paavo Jarvi comes to Chicago

Martin of Darien, Illinois, blogs about his experience at the Thursday evening concert:
Paavo Jarvi of the famous Jarvi conducting clan of Estonia comes to Chicago to conduct the Chicago Symphony. He put together an eclectic collection of 20th century orchestral works that really gave the Chicago Symphony and ALL of its players a real workout. In this past year of Mozart being played everywhere we are used to seeing a very small group of musicians emulating the orchestras of Mozart's day. This concert was the opposite of that. The Armour Stage Symphony Center was very full for every work on the program.

This program included Kodaly's Concerto for Orchestra to start off. Gershwin's Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra completed the first half. Wayne Marshall was the excellent pianist for the Gershwin. His playing was remarkable. He played his own cadenza in the middle.

The second half of the program included the U.S. premiere of Errki-Sven Tuur's Zeitraum. It ended with Witold Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra.

All of this music was incredibly interesting.

Jarvi is a fabulous conductor. He stands straight and conducts with precise, detailed and logical movements. He is in command of the orchestra.

Some of the second tier players in the Chicago Symphony got their chance to shine in this concert.
Mathieu Dufour stood aside for the entire concert and let Richard Graef lead the flute section and perform all the solos. Jennifer Gunn got a real workout on the piccolo during some of the works. Joseph Gustafeste stepped aside and let Joseph DiBello play all the double bass solos. Christopher Martin played the important solos in the Gershwin but for all the other works on the program he left the stage and let Mark Ridenour, John Hagstrom, and Tage Larsen have the floor. Robert Chen stood aside during the first work and let Yuan-Qing Yu take the position of concertmaster. He came back for the second half of the concert. The new principal oboe Eugene Izotov played most of the concert but for some of the pieces he let Scott Hostetler take the principal oboe chair. Larry Combs was absent and let John Bruce Yeh handle the clarinet for the entire concert. Yeh is a fabulous player and shines all the time when he plays.

The rest of the orchestra including all the players I did not specifically mention were outstanding in this concert that involved new and strange rhythms and different harmonies.

I took the train to Chicago on Thursday, November 16, to attend this concert.

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