LSO Premieres percussion showpiece | Sharps & Flatirons

Longmont resident Michael Udow’s Historic Echoes impressed by archaeological finds

 By Peter Alexander April 24 at 12:15 a.m.

NOTE: I normally don’t overview ensembles that aren’t totally skilled. This efficiency by the semi-pro Longmont Symphony charges an exception as a result of it features a world premiere, which at all times deserve media consideration.

Final night time (April 23) the Longmont Symphony Orchestra (LSO) gave the primary efficiency of a bit that was impressed by archaeological discoveries within the state of Colorado. Michael Udow’s  Historic Echoes makes use of 4 stones found in Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park and elsewhere within the San Luis Valley that archeologist Marilyn Mortorano found to be historical lithophones, or musical devices product of stone. (Learn the total story right here.)

Nice Sand Dunes NP and the San Luis Valley. Picture by Peter Alexander

Below conductor Elliot Moore, the LSO gave a cautious studying of Udow’s atmospheric rating. Soloist Anthony Di Sanza, as soon as Udow’s percussion scholar on the College of Michigan, was everywhere in the entrance of the stage, switching amongst 4 totally different percussion setups that included the 4 historical stones, a contemporary mallet instrument with tuned granite bars—Udow’s private creation for this one piece—a vibraphone, drums from North Africa and Japan, German cowbells and temple gongs, amongst different devices.

There might be little question that Udow is aware of the percussion devices intimately that he writes for. They have been all used successfully, and Di Sanza gave a virtuosic efficiency on all of them. It was clearly as a lot enjoyable for him working from one setup to a different, because it was for the viewers watching and listening. 

Percussion soloist Anthony Di Sanza

The rating opens with a dreamy, evocative passage that made good use of the quiet plinking sounds of the traditional stones. From there the rating strikes from one set of devices to a different, every representing a distinct tradition or a part of the world. The rating is very episodic, as every set of devices brings forth its personal musical model and temper. 

Udow used the orchestra nicely, however didn’t resist falling into Hollywood-style Orientalist cliches to assist a number of the devices, and I’m not positive that his sequence of musical vignettes provides as much as greater than the sum of its extremely particular person components. However the result’s definitely a showpiece for the soloist, and one that will show irresistible to different percussionists sooner or later. 

Michael Udow along with his granite lithophone, created for his rating Historic Echoes. Picture by Peter Alexander.

Udow’s fashionable granite lithophone is certain for a percussion assortment in Indianapolis, the place it is going to be obtainable for Di Sanza and different skilled percussionists who want to carry out Udow’s rating. With it containing so many enjoyable licks, I might not dare to guess the place we’ll hear it subsequent.

Following a standing ovation, Di Sanza and his former instructor Udow gave an brisk handclapping encore that was nice enjoyable, if maybe a minute too lengthy.

For the remainder of the live performance, Moore led the LSO in first Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, and later to shut this system Brahms’s Symphony No. 1. The Firebird efficiency had a robust expressive profile, capturing nicely the essence of every scene. There have been some particularly good solos within the woodwinds, if just a few problems with steadiness total.

The Brahms was the least satisfying of the three items, needing higher steadiness—once more—and extra rhythmic precision, particularly inside the string sections. In a contemporary live performance corridor and with fashionable winds, Brahms actually wants a bigger string part than most small-budget orchestras can present, and that was the case right here. But it surely needs to be famous that the LSO has grown in high quality over Moore’e 5 years in Longmont, and Moore introduced the symphony to an brisk conclusion. It was greeted warmly by the viewers.

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