Monday, April 14, 2008

NC Symphony with Michael Collins

I went to the a remarkable program with the NC Symphony featuring basset clarinetist Michael Collins. The program was bookended by two Mendelssohn pieces without the clarinetist. The overall tone of the evening was uptempo as all the music was emphatic. The Mendelssohn Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream was an agressive start, energetically played and well executed.
This was followed by the entrance of Mr. Collins and a note-perfect performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A Major. Tonally beautiful throughout there was a substantial ovation at the end of this piece. The second half of the program began with a world premiere of Elana Kats-Chernin's Ornamental Air for basset clarinet. Agressive tight note clusters powered this piece along. The comparison I made as I was listening was a very modern extension of Gershwin. The composer was attending and the piece was recieved very well. The concluding music for the evening was the Mendelssohn "Italian" Symphony. An uplifting and amazing piece of music. Especially interesting for its minor key last movement. Again well played and conducted. A good night of music all around.

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