« 21st Century Consort: Steinberg's Wit as Music | Main | Alizadeh at Lisner: Dissolving Borders »

Britten, Kazik from the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic

Tuesday April 3, 2007

Benjamin Britten
The Washington Post 4/03/07:  The British composer Benjamin Britten was not yet 20 when he sketched his Double Concerto in B Minor for violin, viola and orchestra -- then shelved the thing without bothering to finish it. Britten's neglect is hard to fathom. This 1932 work (which was realized from a sketch after the composer's death and premiered in 1987) is a stunning, fully mature composition, as the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic showed on Sunday at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall.

Violist Marc Ramirez and violinist Olivia Hajioff (who perform together under the slightly squirmy moniker "marcolivia") turned in a vivid and satisfying account of the work; the two are almost palpably in sync both in tone and sensibility, and they took obvious pleasure in exploring the work's considerable expressive depths.  Kudos to the philharmonic's music director, Ulysses S. James -- who conducted with precision and vitality -- for putting this unjustly neglected work on the program.

The program also featured the world premiere of James Kazik's "Poem for Orchestra," a short but appealing work with an introspective, often dreamlike feel to it. While rather conventional in its language and restrained in its expressive range, it was elegantly knitted together and demonstrated Kazik's command of orchestral textures; there were several moments (such as the clarion trumpet rising out of a melancholy shimmer of strings) that were quite magical.

The evening closed with a concert version, much abridged, of Jacques Offenbach's lyric opera "Tales of Hoffmann." Mark Whitmire led the NOVA Community Chorus in a tour of the opera's high points, which -- despite some truly painful French and the sometimes-casual coordination between orchestra and chorus -- proved perfectly enjoyable.

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2007 at 11:48AM by Registered CommenterStephen Brookes | CommentsPost a Comment

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.