by Michael Caruso
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s remaining “digital” live performance of its common 2020-21 season proffered certainly one of its most compelling packages because the suspension of “in-person” performances at first of the COVID-19 lockdown. Carried out by music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the roster of music opened with the Overture to Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute,” adopted by the U.S. premiere of Mason Bates’ “Undistant,” and concluded with Beethoven’s Second Symphony.
Previous to the efficiency of his work, Bates defined that he conceived “Undistant” early within the pandemic’s lockdown, when it started to sink in for all of us that life was going to be very completely different for the subsequent few months, on the very least. “Social distancing” meant that listening to performances of nice music “in-person” was now not doable, and that audiences around the globe must accustom themselves to a “distanced” type of audience-involvement.
The Philadelphia-born Bates’ “Undistant” is firmly rooted within the custom of the best movie scores. Predecessors corresponding to Alex North (born in Chester and educated in Philadelphia at Settlement Music College and the Curtis Institute of Music) and Nino Rota (one other Curtis alumnus) would acknowledge Bates’ strategy to tonality and orchestration.
“Undistant” is scored for a full instrumental ensemble of strings, woodwinds, brass & percussion plus digital digital sounds directed from a laptop computer laptop. The acoustical devices play over the artificially produced digital tones, establishing a temper of slight unsettledness but one wherein the narrative course of the music is each compelling and convincing. Musical moments construct one upon the subsequent in a pure move to a strong structural climax, a subsequent light decision, and a remaining dramatic exclamation. It was performed evocatively.
The Philadelphians’ studying of the Overture to “The Magic Flute” was most notable for the numerous effective woodwind and brass solos that stood out from the ensemble in glowing profiles but that also blended into it as a part of a coherent entire. Principal trombonist Nitzan Heroz, oboist Peter Smith, clarinetist Samuel Caviezel and flutist Jeffrey Khaner all caught Mozart’s lyrical model in addition to the fantastical character of the opera.
Beethoven’s lovely Second Symphony didn’t obtain fairly as persuasive an interpretation, though the enjoying was each bit as exemplary. Principal oboist Philippe Tondre, principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales and flutist Patrick Williams proffered beautiful solo traces.
The accents within the sluggish opening of the primary motion appeared excessively utilized, but the quicker part of the motion lacked the requisite sense of urgency beneath the superficial sizzle. The rendition of the lyrical second motion displayed the suitable feeling of open-air expansiveness, however the high quality of the third motion Scherzo was extra leaden and heavy-footed than humorous because the title suggests, and the closing motion was merely loud in dynamics quite than ample in substance.
The Orchestra will current a free concert June 25 at 7 p.m. entitled “Let Freedom Ring” on the Nice Plaza at Penn’s Touchdown. Then, July 8-15, Yannick Nezet-Seguin will lead a summer time “virtual” concert July 8-15 that includes Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin” and “Mom Goose” Suite plus Bizet’s Symphony No. 1.
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