Concert Review: Atlanta Symphony brings Janacek’s “Glagolitic Mass” to Carnegie

Posted on: November 1, 2010

In Monday’s (11/1) New York Times, Allan Kozinn writes, “The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has long prided itself on the reputation for versatility it has built through its recordings and its frequent visits to Carnegie Hall, particularly in the nine years Robert Spano has been its music director. Mr. Spano’s fondness for 20th-century music serves him well in upholding that reputation, and on Saturday evening he led a program of modern classics—familiar but by no means overplayed scores by Arvo Pärt, Bartok and Janacek—that seemed built to show off the ensemble’s resources.  Most overtly those resources were solid, well-tuned brass and woodwind sections, supple strings and the kind of energy and verve necessary to bring a sense of terror to episodes of Bartok’s ‘Miraculous Mandarin’ and dramatic fervor to Janacek’s ‘Glagolitic Mass.’ But before tackling those texturally complex works Mr. Spano demonstrated his orchestra’s qualities at the opposite extreme, in the haunting pianissimo string writing that opens and closes Mr. Pärt’s ‘Fratres.’ … Janacek’s ‘Glagolitic Mass’ (1927), a setting in Old Church Slavonic rather than Latin, is more an expression of Czech nationalism than of religious devotion. … As in the Bartok, the orchestra played with brilliance and precision. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus sang with a gripping robustness.”

Posted November 1, 2010