Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s season-opening twist on “Star Spangled Banner”

Posted on: September 20, 2017

“If you listened hard during the first work on the program at Friday evening’s St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert, you could hear the American national anthem,” writes Terry Blain in Monday’s (9/18) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “Not, however, as we normally hear it: New York composer Jessie Montgomery, in a piece she calls ‘Banner,’ takes the spangled stars and slices up the bars, intercutting them with snatches of civil rights-era songs and tunes from Puerto Rico, Mexico and Cuba. It isn’t quite the searing deconstruction of the anthem that Jimi Hendrix improvised on his electric guitar at the Woodstock festival nearly half a century ago. But it comes close to being classical music’s equivalent. ‘Banner’ got a crisp, zippy interpretation from the SPCO players, led from violin by Montgomery herself…. At a fractious period in the nation’s history … it was a clever, provocative way of starting the new SPCO season.” Also on the concert were Beethoven’s Triple Concerto “unconducted, like the rest of the program,” with SPCO Associate Concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini, SPCO Principal Cello Julie Albers, and pianist Orion Weiss; and Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes in a “darkly probing interpretation suggested that the Variaciones is a work of major stature.”

Posted September 20, 2017