Review: California Symphony gives world premiere of guitar concerto by composer-in-residence Visconti

Posted on: May 19, 2016

“Despite its popularity in other arenas, the guitar has never quite gotten the respect it deserves in the classical music world,” writes Georgia Rowe in Monday’s (5/16) Mercury News (San Jose, California). “Credit the Walnut Creek-based California Symphony with putting the guitar center stage. In the orchestra’s season-ending concert … music director Donato Cabrera conducted the world premiere of Dan Visconti’s ‘Living Language’ for guitar and orchestra, with guitarist Jason Vieaux as soloist. Visconti’s work occupied the first half of a program that also included Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 and Philip Glass’ ‘Company’ for String Orchestra. Visconti, currently in his second of three seasons as the Symphony’s Young American Composer in Residence—Cabrera conducted his ‘Breakdown’ last season—crafts a vast canvas in ‘Living Language.’ The three-movement score, performed without pause, takes its inspiration from styles and traditions ranging from medieval chant to 20th-century minimalism. The composer refers to the sounds of other cultures throughout the piece; one hears echoes of the Indian sitar, the Middle Eastern oud and Spanish flamenco guitar…. Cabrera, bringing together all the discrete threads in this musical tapestry, led a crisp performance. And Vieaux, for whom the piece was written, played with terrific commitment.”

Posted May 19, 2016