Masterworks 1 Concert Review by John Bridges

ASHEVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Masterworks 1 • OPENING NIGHT

Daniel Meyer, conductor
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

Saturday, September 17, 2011 • 8:00 pm
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Asheville, North Carolina

– Review –

The Asheville Symphony opened its 51st season last Saturday evening to a near-capacity audience in Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Conductor Daniel Meyer offered a program consisting of a short piece by American minimalist composer John Adams, a piano concerto by Ravel featuring guest soloist Simone Dinnerstein and a familiar symphony by Tchaikovsky.

John Adams’ “Lollapalooza”, a rousing exercise in syncopation filled with rhythmic and tonal surprises, was the opening selection. The orchestra delivered the many surprises to the fullest with verve and vigor.

Then, pianist Simone Dinnerstein delighted the audience with her performance of Maurice Ravel’s “Piano Concerto in G Major”. The soloist’s filigree finger-work and rhythmic vitality realized the French idiom of the music with flash and brilliance.  Her performance was so well received that she responded by repeating the piano portion of the last movement as an encore.

After intermission, the performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5” was a revelation. Meyer shaped the original conception of the score in a most sensitive manner, thus, avoiding the possible continuous fortissimo passages and outpouring of romantic passion that can otherwise mar a performance of the work. The many passages for solo instruments were played with distinction, care and impressive artistry. There were no cheap thrills. Meyer took care to temper all the climaxes and the delicate rubatos with genuine artistic feeling.

While applause was generous throughout the program, Tchaikovsky’s “Fifth” was exceptionally well received.