Masterworks 2 Concert Review by John Bridges

ASHEVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

MASTERWORKS 2 • SORCERER’S APPRENTICE

Daniel Meyer, conductor
Jason Posnock, violin

Saturday, October 15, 2011 • 8:00 pm
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Asheville, North Carolina

– Review –

Conductor Daniel Meyer led the Asheville Symphony in four works for an appreciative audience last Saturday evening in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.

The concert began with the familiar “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas. The work is well-known through its use in the animated film version with Mickey Mouse as the leading character. Mickey’s trials as the helper of a magical sorcerer are well-illustrated in the music. The various episodes make use of a variety of orchestral instruments played with expert artistry.

This was followed by an unfamiliar work by a very familiar composer: Sergei Prokofiev. His “Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor” featured Asheville Symphony’s concertmaster Jason Posnock. The Concerto is mostly meditative and the orchestra played it with chamber-like rapport and concentration. Lyrical ardor and tender intimacy marked the playing by the soloist. And, the composer’s inventive “Spanishy” conclusion gave a surprising touch to the finale.

The second half of the program opened with Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun”. This is among the composer’s best known works and has been used in many different ways, notably, ballet. It was performed in a coolly elegant manner with plenty of breathing room infused with poetic feeling.

Benjamin Britten’s “Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell” was the final selection for the evening and was played with joyful abandon. The theme is perhaps best known as “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”. The winds, brasses, strings and percussion are introduced in order and united in a 14-part fugue in a massive crescendo.