Review: Charlotte Symphony premieres Leonard Mark Lewis percussion concerto

Posted on: January 9, 2017

“Every Charlotte Symphony Orchestra concert uptown involves a series of decisions,” writes Lawrence Toppman in Saturday’s (1/7) Charlotte Observer (N.C.). “Do I want to spend the dough for a ticket or two? … Do I want to test my ears and patience with works I don’t know? Variables increase by one this week: Do I brave Snowmageddon? … The best reason to stir after the storm Saturday could be ‘Evolution,’ the new percussion concerto by Winthrop University’s Leonard Mark Lewis…. The world premiere … glittered and percolated in the hands of Leonardo Soto, the CSO’s timpanist. Lewis isn’t afraid to combine ideas that don’t commonly complement each other. Strings lay down a warm melody, while the soloist plays propulsively on the marimba or dreamily on the xylophone.… Jazzy brass drive the beginning of the last section, and the soloist wails on a drum kit.… When the music swings, he swings.… During the brief, lovely Meditation, strings and harp play contemplatively. Soto picks up crotales (tiny tuned cymbals) and rubs them with a violin bow, producing a soft, keening sound. He does this while walking across the stage.… He seems to send vibrations up like a quiet message to the cosmos.”

Posted January 9, 2017