Sunday, October 11, 2009

CIM: University Circle Wind Ensemble, CWRU Symphonic Winds, and the CWRU/University Circle Symphony Orchestra

Before I begin let me say that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a particular fan of Brass. Horns, especially always sound "wrong" to my ear; that will, of course, color my impressions of the various pieces I describe this afternoon.

This afternoon's concert was very much a spur of the moment decision -- and it was an enjoyable mix of works. I don't think I've ever noticed as many wind players turning various shades of red as I did tonight -- it was certainly a show played with exuberance and passion.

For the University Circle Wind Ensemble:
I really wanted to enjoy Bonanno's Fanfare for Brass and Percussion but it sounded off... I want to say too sharp but I'm not sure that was it. Shostakovitch's Festive Overture likewise left me feeling unfulfilled; though it was an interesting counterpoint to his 5th Symphony from down the street a week ago. A Weekend in New York captured the musical essence of New York as I remember it, but I stopped short of falling in love with the piece.

For the CWRU Symphonic Winds:
I enjoyed Halverson's Entry March of the Boyars; Saucedo's Rendezvous with the Other Side definitely captured the otherworldly eeriness. As We Forgive from Ryan Nowlin was interesting but I didn't really find it compelling; Temptation was probably my favorite movement for this one. Holst's First Suite in E flat started off on the wrong note for me (see above Brass comment) but redeemed itself.

For the CWRU/University Circle Symphony Orchestra:
Definitely, for me, the highlight of the program. Larson's Overture for the End of a Century was compelling and had no trouble holding my attention, but and overall I enjoyed Deep Summer Music was a little too deep for me at places. White Peacock from Griffes was a piece that I would never listen to at home, but really highlights how live performance can capture nuances that get lost in a recording.

The final two pieces on the program were definitely my favorites from the afternoon-- I can't pinpoint the exact reason why Riegger's Dance Rhythms appeals to me as it does, but I love the rhythm and the building tension. Parts of Gould's American Salute felt very familiar... but I can't figure out where I "remember" it from.

The talent being cultivated in Cleveland is absolutely amazing...
(Edited to correct some embarrassing typos)

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