Review: Arkansas Symphony’s added film dimension to Barber, Respighi, and Korngold

Posted on: January 23, 2018

“What a blessing is the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Intimate Neighborhood Concerts series,” writes Eric Harrison in Friday’s (1/19) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock). “It’s a chance for the orchestra musicians to play, and audiences to hear them play, a whole range of chamber orchestra works, fitting neatly between chamber music and full-orchestra masterworks, that would otherwise go unheard. And they’re in settings … where conductor Philip Mann can program music that fits the space. [At] Thursday night’s ‘Picture Perfect’ pieces at Calvary Baptist Church in Pulaski Heights … the centerpiece was a fantastic performance by soprano Keely Futterer, a native Arkansan … of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 [based on] James Agee’s melancholy memorial to a simpler time and place.… Period images of the Tennessee town projected on screens on either side of the musicians enhanced the experience. The projection process also gave an additional dimension to the fine … performance of Ottorino Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano, pairing the music with the three title paintings by 15th century master Sandro Botticelli.… [In] the five-movement suite of incidental music for Much Ado About Nothing by Erich Wolfgang Korngold … Mann and the musicians performed it with just the right balance of cartoonishness and coquettishness.”

Posted January 23, 2018