Visitor conductor Gary Lewis steps in eventually minute to carry issues collectively
By Peter Alexander Feb. 13 at 12:10 a.m.
Billy Childs, versatile jazz pianist and composer of live performance music, lastly noticed the premiere of his Second Violin Concerto in Macky Auditorium final evening (Feb. 12), courtesy of violinist Rachel Barton Pine and the Boulder Philharmonic.
Visitor conductor Gary Lewis stepped in on the final minute for the Phil’s music director, Michael Butterman, who was unable to journey on account of COVID restrictions. However that was not the one affect COVID had on the concerto. Two earlier deliberate premieres on the Grant Park Pageant in Chicago—Pine’s hometown—had been postponed, making Boulder’s the very first efficiency.
Like Butterman, I used to be unable to attend the efficiency, having been uncovered to somebody who examined optimistic for COVID final weekend in St. Paul, Minn. (See my opinions from that journey right here.) I’m nice, however I used to be solely in a position to expertise the Boulder Phil live performance by dwell stream. My impressions are essentially restricted by the standard of the sound by the speaker hooked up to my desktop laptop. Usually I might not write a overview underneath these circumstances; for a world premiere, some sort of report is acceptable.
As lastly introduced final evening, the concerto fittingly evokes the temper of the final two years through the COVID pandemic. That was in actual fact, the strongest impression made by the concerto—a sequence of moods, from consoling, to elegiac, to nervous and jittery. In creating these moods the piece is efficient, however past that there have been no themes nor particular musical gestures that remained within the reminiscence.
Childs’s classically-based music—versus his jazz work—is as he has mentioned, “within the model of the mid-Twentieth-century composers.” He has given Ravel and Barber as fashions, however his orchestra lacks the brilliance of these examples. At present the model looks like one thing out of the previous, and as such it sounds spinoff, imitative moderately than strongly particular person in any approach.
It needs to be said, nevertheless, that this comparatively weak impression can’t be laid on the toes of the soloist. Pine performed with a ardour and dedication that got here by the dwell feed loud and clear. The technical passages had been performed with extraordinary precision and readability, whereas the lyrical passages had been all rendered with lovely tone and deep expression. Pine is an distinctive artist, and it was a pleasure to listen to her carry out.
She concluded the primary half of the live performance with a lovingly performed motion from a Bach Sonata for solo violin. That is in fact music of nice depth, and excess of the concerto it revealed the artistry of the performer.
The second half of the live performance was taken by Beethoven’s ever-popular Symphony No. 7. Lewis led a efficiency that appeared protected, easy, however missing the joy and the textural readability the symphony desires. This can be a mirrored image of restricted rehearsal time having been given to a bit that’s, in any case, acquainted to many of the musicians.
However right here’s the place the standard of the dwell stream turns into a difficulty. What got here by my audio system sounded cautious, murky, generally plodding. The themes and gestures had been under-characterized, and the tempo dragged in spots, significantly within the extremely energized, onrushing third motion. Solely within the finale did the orchestra begin to generate actual pleasure, however from what I heard, an absence of precision and management acquired in the best way of readability.
However Beethoven wins ultimately. The finale supplied the conclusion that everybody needed for this system. Lewis deserves thanks and credit score for holding the live performance collectively underneath difficult situations.