Review: Atlanta Symphony streamed concert linking pieces by Walker, Shostakovich, Chopin

Posted on: April 29, 2021

“Music director Robert Spano returned to lead the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra last week in a [streamed] program of three disparate pieces,” writes Mark Thomas Ketterson in Monday’s (4/26) Arts ATL (Atlanta). “Each work presented was also either derived from elements of its creator’s earlier compositions or served as inspiration for successive musicians to add compositional touches of their own…. George Walker’s 1946 Lyric for Strings is a reworking of the second movement (titled ‘Lament’) from his String Quartet No. 1…. The ASO performance was direct and almost nakedly emotional—especially in the interminable final chord, which Spano and his players delivered with ineffable delicacy. [In] Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 … the Bosnian virtuoso Pedja Mužijević … was stunning … exploited the music’s singer-like qualities with great sensitivity…. The ASO program concluded with a splendid account of the Shostakovich Chamber Symphony in C Minor, Op. 110a … actually an arrangement for string orchestra by Rudolf Barshai of the composer’s String Quartet No. 8…. The work is peppered with quotations from his earlier works…. Spano and his players outdid themselves here … The virtual concert was distinguished by exceptionally attractive visuals and excellent camerawork.”