Review: Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto in world premiere by Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Posted on: February 5, 2018

“Jennifer Higdon has been basking in a week of national attention the likes of which would turn any other classical composer-and a woman composer at that-several shades of envious,” writes John von Rhein in Friday’s (2/2) Chicago Tribune. “On Sunday, a Naxos album containing three of her recent orchestral works [performed by the Nashville Symphony] won in the categories best contemporary classical composition and best classical compendium in the 2018 Grammy Awards. Four nights later, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti gave the world premiere of her CSO-commissioned Low Brass Concerto, with four stalwarts of the orchestra’s fabled brass choir as soloists. … The new work harnesses the signature strength of trombonists Jay Friedman, Michael Mulcahy and Charles Vernon, and tuba player Gene Pokorny, in imaginative ways that allow them to function as a unit, duo, trio and individual voices, before her 17-minute, single-movement concerto charges to a rousing close…. The brass ensembles of the co-commissioning Philadelphia and Baltimore symphony orchestras no doubt will bring their own character to the piece.” Other works on the program were by Stravinsky, Chausson, and Britten. The CSO will perform the Higdon work on an East Coast tour this month.

Posted February 5, 2018