Review: “Spring for Music” concerts by Orpheus and Toledo Symphony

Posted on: May 9, 2011

In Monday’s New York Times, James R. Oestreich reviews the first two concerts of the inaugural Spring for Music Festival, performed Friday and Saturday by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Of the Orpheus program, consisting of commissioned works by Peter Maxwell Davies, Stephen Hartke, Aaron Jay Kernis, Paul Moravec, Christopher Theofanidis, and Melinda Wagner, each inspired by one of Bach’s six Brandenburg Concerti, Oestreich writes, “what resulted when they were all put together here for the first time was less a dialogue than a colloquy with everyone speaking a different language. It made for a fascinating experiment but not a completely satisfying concert.” Toledo Symphony Music Director Stefan Sanderling “conducted a brilliant performance” of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6, followed after the intermission by ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favor,’ a Tom Stoppard playlet with Shostakovich-inspired music by Andre Previn that includes “uncanny takeoffs on the master’s music woven into more generic writing.” Oestreich notes that “1,400 Ohio citizens” were among the “more than 2,000” in attendance, and concludes, “In all, the evening was a genuine coup for the orchestra and its gifted conductor.” In Sunday’s (5/8) Los Angeles Times, Matthew Erikson interviews Dutch with Jaap van Zweden, music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, scheduled to perform at Spring for Music later this week. Erikson and Van Zweden discuss the conductor’s love for the Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, whose “sonic warmth Van Zweden hopes to duplicate at New York’s Carnegie Hall” on Wednesday (5/11), when the orchestra will perform Steven Stucky’s oratorio August 4, 1964. Spring for Music runs through Saturday at Carnegie Hall.

Posted May 9, 2011