Concert Review: Colorado Symphony premieres Thile’s Mandolin Concerto

Posted on: September 21, 2009

In Friday’s (9/18) Denver Post, Kyle MacMillan writes, “Performers from the rock and folk worlds regularly try their hands at classical music, and the results are typically superficial, derivative or just plain hokey. But Chris Thile’s ‘Mandolin Concerto (Ad astra per alia porci),’ which received its stunning world premiere Thursday evening by the Colorado Symphony, is a very different story. Indeed, in assessing this work, it is better to set aside the mandolinist’s star status in the bluegrass world and think of him as an up-and-coming classical composer with almost unlimited potential. The 25-minute piece would have been an admirable accomplishment for anyone. But considering that the mandolinist is just 28, is not classically trained and has never written an orchestral work before, it is nothing short of astounding. … It is a tightly wound, introspective work suffused with a melancholic, even gently haunting feeling. The sometimes spare, sometimes layered piece stays well within the bounds of tonality, looking back at times to Bela Bartok and the early 20th century.” Also on the program, conducted by Jeffrey Kahane, were Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with Kahane on piano, William Hill’s “Four Moments Musical,” and Copland’s Suite from “Billy the Kid.”

Posted September 21, 2009