Review: Portland Symphony’s multicultural, surround-sound holiday concert

Posted on: December 19, 2014

“The Portland Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Magic of Christmas’ series, Dec. 12 to 21, has something for everyone,” writes Christopher Hyde in Tuesday’s (12/16) Portland Press Herald (Maine). “Artistic director Robert Moody has emphasized entertainment value in the rapid-paced program and largely succeeded. On opening night, the entertainment seemed in surround-sound, with a new act popping up every few minutes, all around Merrill Auditorium. The festivities opened with the full orchestra in holiday garb playing ‘Rocket Sleigh.’ As soon as the applause died down the spotlight switched to Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, in the lower right-hand corner of the hall, playing ‘Soboninko’ from the Malinke people of Guinea. The driving polyrhythms of the piece, on native percussion instruments, and the call-and-response singing, were exciting … They were followed almost instantaneously by the Flukes in the upper right balcony, playing a Hawaiian Christmas song, ‘Mele Kalikimaka.’ Flukes stands for Falmouth Library Ukulele Ensemble, and they are really good at what they do.” The concert included a string trio, works for organ, classical and holiday music by the orchestra, and “a rousing version of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ as a finale.”

Posted December 19, 2014