Masterworks 7 Concert Review

 

ASHEVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

 

MASTERWORKS 7 • THE PINES OF ROME  

 

Daniel Meyer, conductor 

Jennifer Koh, violin

Benjamin Hochman, piano 

Saturday, May 12, 2012 • 8:00 pm

Thomas Wolfe Auditorium

Asheville, North Carolina 

– Review –

The title “Spring” might well have been given to all the works on the program of the Asheville Symphony last Saturday evening under the direction of Conductor Daniel Meyer because all three works represented the season of renewal either in title or spirit or both.

The concert opened with Robert Schumann’s “Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Major, (Spring)”. This is Schumann’s first completed symphony of a total of four and is the embodiment of the artist’s work with bold trumpet fanfares that literally awakened the listeners. By the arrival of the fourth movement, the entire orchestra is joining in the fanfares.

Felix Mendelssohn’s “Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra in D minor” was next. It was written when the composer was all of 14 and in the style of house or parlor music intended for an intimate setting. The piano portion is mainly arpeggios and passage work rather than straight melodic statements. The guest artists were Jennifer Koh on violin and Benjamin Hochman at the keyboard. Both were outstanding with Hochman getting an edge because of the nature of the part.

After intermission, Ottorino Respighi’s tone poem “Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome)” filled the hall with musical scenes of four locales in Rome ending with the pounding of marching feet in a rousing and triumphant conclusion – “Pines of the Appian Way”. One could fully imagine columns of armored centurions strutting down the aisles of Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The audience responded with an enthusiastic and prolonged standing ovation which was most fitting for this, the final concert of the 2011-12 Season. 

by John Bridges