Review: Albany Symphony all-American program: Corigliano, Smith, Stucky, Williams

Posted on: June 9, 2022

“The Albany Symphony Orchestra delivered their final season concert Saturday night … with a generous selection of contemporary American music,” writes George Grella in Sunday’s (6/5) New York Classical Review. “The ‘Trailblaze!’ program featured the American premiere of John Williams’ Prelude and Scherzo and John Corigliano’s recent Triathlon for Saxophonist and Orchestra, alongside colorful orchestral works by Gabriella Smith and the late Steven Stucky. There was a real sense of enthusiasm and concentration about the orchestra’s playing, with clear rhythms and details under David Alan Miller’s conducting…. The opening work was Smith’s Field Guide, the composer’s representation of, in Miller’s words, a ‘dawn chorus’ of birds … a rousing passage from pre-dawn darkness to a scene fully lit by the brightness of the sun…. Williams’ Prelude and Scherzo, orchestral music with a concertante piano part played by Gloria Cheng [featured] rich orchestral harmonies with the shine and simple eloquence of mid-20th century American tonal modernism.… Stucky’s Radical Light [was] full of gorgeous colors … a sort of miniature concerto for orchestra…. [In] Corigliano’s … saxophone concerto … the overall energy was exciting, not just from [soloist Timothy] McAllister but channeled through the orchestra, and in the end it bought the house down in cheers.”