Review: Wild rides and new sounds at Cincinnati Symphony and MusicNOW Festival

Posted on: January 18, 2017

“You wouldn’t expect video games, short attention spans and crazy, Rube Goldberg machines to inspire a symphony orchestra composition,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Monday’s (1/16) Cincinnati Enquirer. “But those were some of the things that inspired Andrew Norman’s ‘Play,’ a vast and exciting canvas for large, colorful orchestra, performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on Friday at the Taft Theatre, Downtown. ‘Play,’ which just won the $100,000 Grawemeyer Award, is the centerpiece of this year’s MusicNOW Festival, curated by Bryce Dessner. In the past four years, the festival has become an incubator for new orchestral music written by a rising generation of composers. It’s too early to know whether the music of now will be the music of tomorrow. But one thing we do know: Friday’s program, which included guest conductor Matthias Pintscher’s own ‘idyll for orchestra’ and songs by Irish singer Lisa Hannigan, was adventurous, probing, challenging and enthralling.… Los Angeles-based Norman, 37 … introduced his monumental work as ‘a wild ride.’… Pintscher’s 23-minute ‘Idyll’ contrasted as a work of poetry and introspection.… The composer displayed a gift for lyricism in themes for orchestral soloists, including alto flute.”

Posted January 18, 2017