Violist Richard O’Neill offers gorgeous efficiency with Boulder Phil


All-English program options Walton Viola Concerto, works by Elgar and Anna Clyne

By Peter Alexander Might 15 at 12:10 a.m.

The Boulder Philharmonic completed the 2021–22 classical live performance collection with sound and fury final night time (Might 14).

Conductor Michael Butterman and the Boulder Philharmonic in Macky Auditorium. Picture by Glenn Ross.

No, that isn’t a criticism. The primary piece listed on this system was Anna Clyne’s Sound and Fury, impressed partly by Macbeth’s soliloquy that includes that phrase. In follow, although, Clyne was preceded by an “off-menu particular,” within the phrases of conductor Michael Butterman: Elgar’s acquainted “Pomp and Circumstance” March No. 1, in honor of the area’s current graduates.

The efficiency was led by an honorary visitor conductor, Boulder’s excellent arts patron Gordon Gamm. Wanting dapper in a fedora, Gamm did a creditable job of getting issues began and holding the orchestra collectively. Certainly, the one audible error—one out-of-place be aware—can’t be laid to the conductor. 

Butterman preceded Clyne’s Sound and Fury with a useful music-appreciation type introduction, with a proof of it’s connection to “The Scottish Play” and illustrations from a Haydn symphony quoted within the rating. The efficiency was strongly profiled, with contrasting sections properly characterised and distinguished, missing solely the precision needed for readability within the skittering string components and the complete depth of sound {that a} bigger orchestra might present. 

The recorded voice talking the “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” soliloquy close to the top was not all the time intelligible, however it did present how these phrases match into the scheme of the piece. It is a new piece (2019) that’s positively understandable and pleasant for the classical viewers, and I might welcome listening to it once more.

Violist Richard O’Neill

A buddy informed me about this live performance, “The Walton Concerto received’t promote any tickets.” If that’s proper, I’m sorry for anybody who was not bought a ticket as a result of they don’t know Walton’s music. They missed a enjoyable piece, and a shocking efficiency by violist Richard O’Neill, the most recent member of the Takács Quartet. The place is their sense of enjoyable, of journey, curiosity in new issues? This isn’t troublesome music.

Composed in 1929, the Viola Concerto reveals the composer’s quirky type to good benefit. At instances lush, at instances shifting, surging and dying away, its kaleidoscopic episodes and sudden turns present a really perfect palette for an instrumental soloist of O’Neill’s qualities.

His efficiency was glittery (and no, I don’t imply his sneakers) and completely assured. Visibly reacting to each twist and switch of the orchestra half, he confirmed in each gesture and musical interpretation his reference to the gamers. Completely comfortable enjoying all of the virtuoso materials the concerto throws on the soloist, O’Neil gave a solo efficiency of the very best caliber. 

Right here the problems had been of steadiness, each throughout the orchestra and (from the place I used to be sitting) with the soloist. The boisterous second motion was my favourite, however the extra mild moments had been equally nicely performed. Two profound tributes to O’Neil: he held the viewers in silence for no less than 20 second on the finish of the concerto, and it was the orchestra, stamping their toes, that introduced him again for his closing curtain name. 

Channeling his inside Leonard Bernstein, Butterman gave one other insightful introduction to Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations, displaying how the variations introduced their topics—the composer’s buddies—to life. This to me is a greater preparation for the viewers than program notes about “the return of the subsidiary theme” or “distant tonalities.”

Elgar’s “Enigma,” one of many best units of orchestral variations of the Romantic or any interval, acquired one of the best orchestral efficiency of the night—perhaps as a result of it’s a piece well-known to all orchestral professionals. Rehearsal time then might be dedicated to particulars of interpretation, of unity, of sound. Butterman discovered the telling components in every variation and introduced out their particular person characters. 

As one hopes and expects, the acquainted “Nimrod” variation swelled calmly from shimmering pianissimo strings to a wealthy, full orchestral climax earlier than falling again. Different variations had the glint, or the load, to speak character and which means. It is a enjoyable piece for brass, who loved their moments of grandeur, and for the timpanist, who introduced each visible and aural flash to the efficiency. 

Lastly, this program had most of the substances of a profitable live performance: some exploration, a stunning soloist, an incredible piece of music. I fortunately be aware the inclusion of a residing feminine composer within the stew. It’s a recipe musical organizations ought to comply with.