Masterworks 6 Concert Review by John Bridges

ASHEVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
MASTERWORKS 6 • MOZART’S “JUPITER” SYMPHONY

Daniel Meyer, conductor
plus
– Attack Theatre –
choreography & direction by Peter Kope & Michele de la Reza
script adaptation by Jonathan Eaton & costume design by Maribeth Maxa

Saturday, April 14, 2012 • 8:00 pm
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Asheville, North Carolina

– Review –

Conductor Daniel Meyer and the Asheville Symphony offered a two-part mixed-bag for their concert last Saturday evening. One part was a traditional symphony while the major part was a dramatic pastiche by a troupe of five skilled dancers backed by a seven-piece ensemble.

The concert opened with Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” as pantomimed by dancers from Attack Theatre based in Pittsburgh and accompanied by an ensemble of Asheville Symphony instrumentalists. It’s the tale of a soldier wandering home who encounters an old man, several female dancers, and the apparition of a lovely princess recovering from an illness. The soldier swaps his beloved violin for needed money, which is not forthcoming because the old man is the Devil in disguise. Subsequently, the soldier aids in restoring the princess to health, recovers his violin, and resumes his journey. The dancers realized the dramatic sections with imagination and were backed throughout by Stravinsky’s jazz-style composition.

Dancers were: Dane Toney, soldier; Liz Chang and Michele de la Reza, Devil(s); Ashley Williams, princess; Peter Kope, narrator. Instrumentalists were: Jason Posnock, violin; Lee Metcalfe, bass; “Chip” Hill, clarinet; Michael Burns, bassoon; Mark Clodfelter, trumpet; James Sparrow, trombone; Mario Gaetano, percussion.

After intermission, Maestro Meyer led the orchestra in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Symphony No. 41 in C Major” commonly known as “Jupiter”. Tempos were brisk, but not hard-driven. And, the playing was filled with bright grandeur. The result was a modern-day interpretation of Mozart but infused with warm humanity.