Review: Colorado Music Festival goes big with Holst, Scriabin, Wachner program

Posted on: August 3, 2017

The Colorado Music Festival orchestra’s Thursday concert at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder “was the most grandiose display of instrumental power yet,” writes Kelly Dean Hansen in Monday’s (7/31) Daily Camera (Boulder, CO). “Music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni expanded the full festival orchestra to its capacity [for] Holst’s beloved 1916 orchestral suite ‘The Planets.’ … Visual artist Adrian Wyard … created a choreographed presentation, where an operator can synchronize the images (from NASA and other sources) and animations to the live music…. Zeitouni and the orchestra gave a performance to match the stunning imagery.… Before intermission, the orchestra presented … this year’s commissioned piece by Click! competition winning composer Julian Wachner … [the] overture-length ‘Gaudé.’ … Bright chorale-like chords contrast with more exuberant string figures, and Wachner did not neglect to inject melody into his score—an important aspect of ‘joyous’ music…. The other major work on the program was yet another expression of similar emotions, the wild and esoteric 1908 ‘Poem of Ecstasy’ by the mystically-minded Russian composer Alexander Scriabin…. The 20-minute work has a couple of massive climaxes and it does have structure, but the overall effect is of being bathed in Scriabin’s consciousness, reflected through the orchestra.”

Posted August 3, 2017