Concert Review: Indianapolis Symphony premieres Whitman-inspired work

Posted on: January 10, 2011

In Saturday’s (1/8) Indianapolis Star, Jay Harvey writes, “The curtain-raiser at this weekend’s Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concerts was probably chosen for musical reasons, but the words behind Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ Overture—the fascinating opera itself—cast ironic reflections on the world premiere that follows. … Walt Whitman’s genius and chaotic times resulted in daring, expansive poetry that embraced good and evil and made raw experience itself a source of endless sustenance. Claude Baker’s unusual scenario of expressing through symphonic means alone five powerful Whitman poems provides the adventure behind ‘From Noon to Starry Night,’ a piano concerto premiered Friday night by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and soloist Marc-Andre Hamelin, astutely led by Gilbert Varga. … The poem’s tone and marchlike tread follow a fierce balance of exhilaration and fear as Whitman watched Union mobilization for war. Baker’s music sustains that difficult balance.” Franck’s Symphony in D minor rounded out the program.

Posted January 10, 2011