Saturday, Sep 21, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website

Flash Banner

Logo Maker
JavaScript Menu
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 29, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 17
Upstairs, downstairs concerts shine at Benaroya Hall
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Upstairs, downstairs concerts shine at Benaroya Hall

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

Two concerts by SSO musicians
April 22 and 23
Benaroya Hall


The upstairs Illsley Ball Recital Hall at Benaroya hosts an intense series of chamber music recitals by members of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Friday's event left me wondering, 'Where has Strauss' 'Violin Sonata in E-flat major' been all my life?!' This early (Op. 18) work by Strauss stunned us with its soaring lyricism and showy writing for both the keyboard and violin. That it is seldom played is a real shame, but there appears to be no shortage of recordings available. I'm grateful that violinist Emma McGrath and pianist Ben Hausmann brought to my awareness.

That Ben Hausmann, principal oboist of the SSO, is also an accomplished pianist with a prodigious technique came as quite a surprise. But his accomplishments don't stop there; he is also a composer and a published poet. Too bad that he had to play on a Steinway that is too big for this hall; his frequent fortissimos were so loud that it was hard to pay attention to the violin. This was no fault of Emma McGrath, who played with consummate skill and white-hot passion.

The acoustics of this hall are impressive. (But here, as in the main hall downstairs, one can still hear the freight train in the tunnel underneath Benaroya.) The opening notes of the evening by violist Laura Renz in Villa-Lobos' 'String Trio' (1945) were so loud and full-bodied that I thought for a moment there might be amplification. But no, it was just that her warm tone set the hall ablaze with sound. She was joined by cellist Bruce Bailey and violinist Mariel Bailey. The trio in four movements appeared fiendishly difficult and sounded more like Bartok at times than anything Latin. I never found it dull, but I could not wrap my mind around it on first hearing. Renz and Bruce Bailey seemed to handle its complexities with ease, while Mariel Bailey did not appear to be in quite the same league.

Robin McCabe (piano) and Maria Larinoff (violin) completed the evening with a knockout performance of Prokofiev's 'Violin Sonata No. 2.' McCabe, unlike Hausmann, was able to rein in the oversized piano and avoided swamping the violin, even while articulating her part with vitality and precision.

Meanwhile, Saturday night downstairs in the big hall we also heard some pretty exciting noises. Leonard Slatkin conducted a program that began well with a new piece, Cindy McTee's 'Double Play,' which was premiered last June in Detroit, also under Slatkin's baton. The composer managed the huge orchestra with exciting imagination and skill. An amazing palette of delicious sounds unfolded, while an expanded percussion section peppered it all with a lot of fun. The composer took a well-deserved bow.

But the highlight of the program was the appearance of pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Gershwin's masterful 'Concerto in F.' Dressed in a black satin jacket with patterned differences in how it reflected the light, he resembled Barry Manilow, with a sparkly brooch at his neck and blonde highlights in his hair. When the concerto began, he became a fireball of energy, eager to attack every accent and jazzy jump. If there was any fault, it was that it was all nervous energy, with little time for repose. But the performance sparkled as brightly as his brooch, and the brilliant score came through with great effect. Trumpeter David Gordon shined in his solos, using an utterly different tone in places for the appropriate jazzy sound.

The 'Symphony No. 5' of Tchaikovsky filled the second half. Its chief virtue was its lack of faults, which is to say that I found it competent but lacking in soul. The Orchestra was never taken down to a double piano, let alone a triple ppp. Thus each climax began halfway to the finish line, with the effect diminished. The brass was impressive, but at full volume they seemed a lot of sound signifying little. Slatkin conducted without a score. Perhaps he has conducted it too often. I was a little bored. The Russian passion that I so love seemed absent.

Reviewer Rod Parke can be reached at rmp62@columbia.edu.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Jean-Yves Thibaudet - top
Ben Hausmann - bottom
Rising star Eva shines in Seattle
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The sharp wit and smooth jazz of Lea DeLaria
------------------------------
Pride Idol goes '80s in week five
------------------------------
Rod Stewart vivacious at Key Arena
------------------------------
Stevie Nicks graceful in short performance
------------------------------
Rapper Lil B says he's Gay - kind of
------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Maceo Parker funkifies Jazz Alley
------------------------------
Sharp Clouds a solid concept
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Pleasant Merry Wives falls short of expectations
------------------------------
SGN's 2011 Summer Movie Preview: Part I
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
Upstairs, downstairs concerts shine at Benaroya Hall
------------------------------
Where It's At: Fleet Foxes a homegrown act
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News