Home Entertainment Baltimore Symphony, Jonathon Heyward provide a promising look into future

Baltimore Symphony, Jonathon Heyward provide a promising look into future


It was a glimpse into the longer term at Strathmore Music Heart on Thursday night time, because the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra welcomed music director designate Jonathon Heyward. That is the primary of two packages upfront of the September begin of the conductor’s five-year contract.

You couldn’t have requested for a simpler sneak peek. We obtained to listen to Heyward in three modes: As modern interpreter, with Jennifer Higdon’s heartbreaker “Blue Cathedral”; as co-pilot, with Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov becoming a member of the orchestra for Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1”; and as a compelling craftsman, providing an exhilarating account of Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances.”

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After I take into account modern works that can stand up to time’s check, “Blue Cathedral” is true to its title. Some 400-plus orchestras have carried out it since Higdon composed it in 1999, and it’s straightforward to listen to why. Written in reminiscence of her youthful brother Andrew Blue, it’s an emotional weighty work that, in the fitting fingers, achieves easy lightness.

Heyward stated not a phrase however went straight to his work, providing an interpretation that felt equally attuned to Higdon’s ingenious sound world as to her eager narrative capabilities.

Higdon as older sister is threaded by means of the work as a line of flute; child brother follows alongside as his instrument, the clarinet. (Expressively and superbly performed, by Marcia McHugh and Jaewon Kim, respectively.) That is additionally each orchestra’s favourite Higdon piece for its showcase of solos. A mist of bells offers approach to a waking adagio for strings, rousing the orchestra into glowing response. A candy dialogue of flute and clarinet appeared to journey by means of years as Heyward gathered momentum and despatched the strings hovering.

From there, a turn-by-turn procession unfolds that feels equal elements improbable and funereal: A free melodic tangle of oboe, violin, piccolo, cello and bassoon twists into an anxious coil. A storm of thundering drums and icy chimes darken the skies (the emergence of anger, grief’s longtime companion). A wall of staccato brass and sawing strings builds to a wide ranging climax. The duo of flute and clarinet returns atop curlicues of Melissa Hooper’s oboe, all of them vanishing within the low glow of distant-sounding chimes, singing water glasses and a sheen of barely audible shakers discreetly shaken by numerous BSO gamers.

It was a high quality warm-up to Abduraimov’s triumphant tackle Tchaikovsky’s beloved 1875 concerto, to which the Uzbekistani pianist introduced measured energy and plenty of character. Heyward crafted thrilling dynamic dips all through the expansive first motion, coaxing splendidly responsive taking part in from throughout the strings.

And whereas the concerto was famously initially met with “indiscriminate, decided censure” from the pianist Tchaikovsky had meant to premiere it — Nikolay Rubenstein — Abduraimov appeared to savor its ever-changing ambiance, participating seamlessly with the orchestra, drawing his personal marvelous particulars from the low finish and alluring ample silence and house into his solos. (By the best way, Strathmore, that entrance in entrance of stage left may use a squirt of WD-40.)

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Abduraimov introduced softness and a slapdash wit to the tender second motion and its a number of personalities. Affiliate principal cello Lachezar Kostov, flutist McHugh and oboist Hooper gave particularly high quality and expressive performances. (Factors off to the viewers member who tried a concerto for sweet wrapper.) The third motion was supercharged by Abduraimov’s dizzying agility. A hail of clobbering octaves towards its shut constructed to a bracing climax — and every part previous was new once more.

Composed in 1940, Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances” was his closing main composition (he died in 1943), and the one piece he composed fully whereas residing in the USA.

That is perhaps simply two factors of trivia had been it not for “Dances” drawing a life’s value of inspiration and quotes from the liturgical chants of Rachmaninoff’s childhood and the pages of his personal work (in addition to a motif from Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Golden Cockerel”). And regardless of the nostalgic flip the three dances take towards Russia, additionally they really feel firmly footed in America, with rhythmic intricacies that articulate the composer’s curiosity in jazz.

The quiet episode of oboe, clarinet, bassoon and alto saxophone (completely performed by Steve Temme) within the first motion was stunningly stunning, giving approach to chilling melodic feints within the strings, a few of the loveliest taking part in of the night.

Heyward approached the latter two dances with the same mixture of attentiveness and journey, balancing the wealthy harmonic heaves of the orchestra with the crisply delivered piano of principal keyboardist Lura Johnson, who was improbable all through. Concertmaster Jonathan Carney was additionally a spotlight, arresting in sound and presence, and key to suppling the urbane wit of the second dance.

Heyward then constructed the third dance from pure romance to a fiery frenzy — the fluid steering of his fingertips abruptly sharpening into mechanistic chops and swipes. It culminated in an explosive end — its thrill in defiance of how properly all of us knew it.

And whereas the fireworks are what are inclined to fill the seats today, Heyward’s method of bringing out the softer aspect of this orchestra is what intrigues me most about his forthcoming tenure. He has an ear for nuance, a savvy sense of programming and an instantly endearing presence onstage. Now he has an orchestra, and we’d do properly to maintain our ears on it.

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, that includes Behzod Abduraimov, repeats Could 6 and seven at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Corridor in Baltimore, bsomusic.org.

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