Review: Oregon Symphony’s immigration-themed concert: Gershwin, Schoenberg, Prokofiev, Rogerson

Posted on: January 11, 2018

“What kind of hybrid might the Oregon Symphony Orchestra produce in performing George Gershwin’s jazz-meets-classical Rhapsody in Blue alongside Arnold Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto and a newly commissioned play-with-orchestra last November?” writes Matthew Andrews in Tuesday’s (1/9) Oregon Arts Watch (Portland). “As it turned out, soloist Kirill Gerstein’s clever two-concerto gambit smoothly navigated the tricky course, chiefly by virtue of his own witty and informed virtuosity (he actually began his career as a jazz pianist)…. In keeping with the OSO’s Sounds of Home immigration theme, the concert opened with Sergei Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes and closed with more genre-crossing: the Chris Rogerson/Dipika Guha commission Azaan.” The play-with-music is about a newcomer who appears in an American town with no papers identifying who he is. “Azaan existed in a relatively amelodic, textural, theatrical sound world … sequences of chords shifting and morphing…. A handful of actors playing regular people [exchanged] realistic dialogue on everyday subjects…. Oregon Symphony has a handful of special concerts coming right up. On January 13-15, Haydn’s Symphony No. 70 and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 bump elbows with Stravinsky’s oft-performed Rite of Spring in the next installment of OSO’s Sounds of Home series, this time exploring environmental themes.”

Posted January 11, 2018