Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

The Albany Symphony Orchestra offered a Saturday live performance on the Palace Theatre in a program of nice selection however with typically uneven outcomes.

They started with Duke Ellington’s Suite from “The River.” Commissioned in 1970 by the American Ballet Theatre for choreographer Alvin Ailey, Ellington wrote 12 actions of which Ailey solely used seven. The ASO, nonetheless, solely carried out 5 of them. All of them had been impressed by water or the course of a stream by way of numerous levels, reminiscent of a waterfall, a whirlpool or rapids.

For individuals accustomed to Ellington’s jazz items, this work is solely totally different. Solely one of many actions, quantity three, would fulfill jazz followers with its harmonies, brass riffs, the usage of a drum set and perky temper. Because it occurs, this motion was to depict “Laughing Rapids.”

The opposite actions, which had been one, 4, 5 and 7, had been vastly totally different in type, concord, shade, tempo and every thing else. The work opened with sweeping strains and dissonance for “Spring.” 4 was an unique “Lake” with basses, flutes, a cymbal smear, trombones in opposition to plucked cellos, maracas, and a reasonably romantic melody that was very movie score-ish. 5 was a speedy, quick “Vortex” with snare drum patters that rippled alongside. Seven had a brass choir that the strings then took up for “Village of the Virgins.”

One can solely think about what Ailey did with the music, which appeared to create extra a temper than one thing to bop to. The orchestra below music director David Alan Miller didn’t appear solely snug, maybe as a result of there was little continuity inside and among the many segments.

Issues flowed higher in Joel Thompson’s “To Awaken the Sleeper,” which premiered in August 2021 in Colorado. Impressed by phrases written by James Baldwin over a span of years from 1970 to 1986, the work required a narrator, which Thompson offered from reminiscence. The texts he selected are amazingly well timed and considerate about race, democracy, migrants within the halls of justice, and the necessity for a brand new morality.

The music ranged from a loud chaos to lyrical settings. For probably the most half, Thompson’s resonant baritone got here by way of. The orchestra sounded good. The viewers responded with cheers, whistles and a standing ovation from many.

It was, nonetheless, in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances” that the orchestra hit its stride. They had been fabulous on this extremely tough three-movement work, which Rachmaninoff wrote in 1941. It was his final composition and a fabulous masterpiece. The half writing, which was exceptionally clear, was impressed and exquisite. His use of shade, rhythm, his signature romantic lyricism with melodies that keep in a single’s ear, even the moods had been glowing.

Miller carried out with ardour and precision. There was an exuberance even from the gamers, who had been challenged by the elements and dug in.

Every motion had its personal language. Within the first, after a vigorous, rhythmic variety of bars from the complete orchestra, the woodwinds took over alone. In an impressed selection, Rachmaninoff had a saxophone because the melodic lead in a delicate flowing melody earlier than the strings took it up.

The second motion was a seductive waltz with swirling reeds, a sensuous English horn solo with mild strings, and Miller coaxing and urging the tempos by way of the composer’s sudden moments.

The finale was all shade and vibrancy because it sped alongside to a forceful finish. The group beloved it as did Miller, who labored his approach across the total orchestra praising every part.

On Dec.10 and 11, it’s the vacation classics in Troy with Bach, Mozart and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson.

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Classes: Leisure, Life and Arts, Life and Arts

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