Concert Review: New Century Chamber Orchestra premieres Bolcom’s “Romanza”

Posted on: May 10, 2010

In Saturday’s (5/8) San Francisco Chronicle (California), Joshua Kosman writes, “There’s a good reason why it’s impossible to pigeonhole the work of composer William Bolcom. His music isn’t so much polystylistic as omnistylistic—a blithely all-embracing mix of neo-Romanticism, modernism, ragtime, pop, jazz and anything else that might catch his fancy. The familiar musical thumbprints are at work again in ‘Romanza,’ the new chamber concerto Bolcom wrote on a commission for the New Century Chamber Orchestra and its music director, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. This agreeable three-movement opus had its world premiere Thursday night in Berkeley’s First Congregational Church, as the centerpiece of the group’s compact season-ending program. … ‘Romanza’ concentrates its main emotional weight in the first movement. This is a dark and impassioned stretch of music built around two basic ideas—a long-breathed violin melody set against an accompaniment of two-note sighing figures, and a flurry of jaunty dance rhythms. … ‘Romanza’ was written with Salerno-Sonnenberg in mind, and it shows—this is edgy, high-intensity music, and she delivered the solo part superbly.”

Posted May 10, 2010