Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
 
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
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 4, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 1
A tango with Beethoven
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
A tango with Beethoven

SSO presents an odd but enjoyable pairing for the holidays

by Alice Bloch - SGN Contributing Writer

SEATTLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
BENAROYA HALL
December 28


If there's anything more exhilarating than a great performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, I don't know what it is. Seattle Symphony Orchestra has long maintained a holiday tradition of performing this magnificent work, but the 2012 performances marked the first time that music director Ludovic Morlot conducted it. What a difference a conductor can make! Under Morlot's direction, Beethoven's last completed symphony sounded as fresh and surprising as it must have sounded to his contemporaries when it was first performed nearly 200 years ago.

Although I've heard many recorded and live performances of Beethoven's Ninth, this SSO performance brought to my ears a new harmonic clarity in which every instrument's voice was evident at all times. Even more impressively, Morlot conveyed Beethoven's radical experiments with tempo - the way he stretched and compressed time as no composer had ever done. The result was electrifying. Even after a long commute home to Vashon Island, I couldn't sleep for several hours, and it was all Morlot's fault.

The gorgeous, life-affirming choral movement was performed superbly. When powerhouse bass-baritone Eric Owens sang the recitative that begins the 'Ode to Joy' - O friends, no more of these sad tones - the audience snapped to attention. The Seattle Symphony Chorale sounded sublime - kudos to associate conductor Joseph Crnko. The soloists (Nicole Cabell, Susan Platts, Clifton Forbis, and Owens) couldn't have been better.

TIMPANI, WOODWINDS SUPERB
Perhaps the most important musician in the orchestra for this symphony is the timpanist, and Michael Crusoe didn't disappoint. All the woodwinds deserve special mention, particularly Demarre McGill (principal flute), Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby (piccolo), Ben Hausmann (principal oboe), Seth Krimsky (principal bassoon), Mike Gamburg (contrabassoon), and Mark Robbins (French horn).

Morlot has a gift for inventive programming, in which unlikely pairings of pieces lead the audience to listen more attentively and to notice unexpected similarities. He chose to open these holiday concerts with Las Cuatro Estaciones PorteƱas ('The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires') by Astor Piazzolla, as arranged by Leonid Desyatnikov for string orchestra and solo violin. A less likely pairing with Beethoven's Ninth could hardly be found, and though the Piazzolla work was delightful in many respects, it failed to shed new light on the Beethoven that followed.

LET'S DANCE
While the orchestra played the four movements of the Piazzolla piece, expert tango dancers Eva Lucero and Patricio Touceda took over the front of the stage. Touceda's steamy choreography and Lucero's sexy costumes (bright red satin for the Spring and Summer movements, and white for Winter, with a filmy veil that was used to good effect in the dance), together with their great skill and passion as dancers, combined to create an irresistible performance.

Elisa Barston, principal second violinist of SSO, handled her violin solos with flair and finesse. During the Autumn movement, she demonstrated exceptional poise and confidence by dancing briefly (and not at all badly) with Touceda, all the while playing her violin as smoothly as anyone could wish.

The thoroughly enjoyable Piazzolla music contains a number of snippets of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and merges tango with baroque fairly successfully. The string orchestra, under Morlot and associate concertmaster Emma McGrath, gave a splendid performance - particularly the cellos, led by principal Efe Baltacigil. My companion, who is more familiar with tango than I, felt that a traditional tango ensemble including bandoneones (concertinas used in South America) would have been more effective than the string orchestra.

Regardless, I credit Morlot for incorporating dance and theater into a concert, thus moving himself into the background and temporarily making his orchestra into a band of accompanists. Was the experiment successful? Not entirely. Was it fun? Undeniably.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Spin doctor: DJ Almond Brown keeps the beats flowing on Capitol Hill
------------------------------
Live and local: The best Seattle-area theater of 2012
------------------------------
A tango with Beethoven
------------------------------
The truth is in here - Engrossing Zero Dark Thirty an explosive procedural
------------------------------
Best Original Song
------------------------------
Deep inside Hollywood: A random handful of things to come in 2013
------------------------------
BEST OF TRAVEL 2012: Our favorite hotels, restaurants, bars and visitor attractions of the year
------------------------------

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

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

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

------------------------------
The Oscar oracle: 2012 Academy Award predictions
------------------------------
Beautifully acted Land doesn't fulfill its promise
------------------------------

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

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

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

------------------------------
Easy Street Records closing Queen Anne store
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2012

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