Review: Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia’s viola-filled program, with Mooke premiere

Posted on: April 5, 2018

“After this weekend’s Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia concert, internationally acclaimed violist Born Lau noted, ‘It takes a lot of courage to put two viola soloists on the same program,’ ” writes Linda Holt in Tuesday’s (4/3) Broad Street Review (Philadelphia). “Lau joined the orchestra, led by conductor Dirk Brossé, in Hummel’s Fantasie for Viola and Orchestra. He added a twist of his own: a charming improvisation paying homage to composers ranging from Mozart to John Williams.… Another treat … was the world premiere of [violist/composer] Martha Mooke’s ‘Hidden Hands’ for electric viola and orchestra…. Mooke has toured or performed with Barbra Streisand, Patti Smith, and other major artists, and founded the Scorchio Quartet featured on David Bowie’s Heathen album. But the impact of her music, not her celebrity associations, makes Mooke a force to be reckoned with.… Mooke improvised on electric viola and operated three electronic foot pedals (multi-effects, volume, and loop station). The smooth viola line glided over the orchestra … while the electronic ambience created an amorphous cushion of sound.” Also on the program were Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande Suite and Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 (“Prague”).

Posted April 5, 2018