Our final Phoenix Symphony concert of the season Saturday evening was sensational.  The featured soloist, Olga Kern, performed a mesmerizing interpretation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No, 2 in C minor, Opus 18.  Although our seventh row seats allowed for great views of her face, we were unable to see her hands at work on the keyboard.  Nevertheless, the lyrical, romantic mood conveyed an intensely passionate interpretation.  This concert was one of five featuring this eminent soloist during two weeks dedicated to Rachmaninoff.  Our evening’s performance started with Three Russian Songs, Opus 41 with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra singing “Across the River,” “Oh, Vanka!,” and “Whiten My Rouged Cheeks.”  During the intermission, Conductor Michael Christie interviewed Chorus Master Gregory R. Gentry who explained his technique for teaching choral works in foreign languages.  The first half of the concert concluded with North America’s first performance of Miecyzlaw Weinberg’s Sinfonietta No. 1, Opus 41.  This Polish composer escaped to the Soviet Union in 1939 where he connected with his mentor Dmitry Shostakovich.  The rousing Allegro first movement was followed by three movements featuring solos for trombone, oboe, clarinet, and french horn.  We value Christie for discovering works such as this one and sharing them with classical music lovers in Phoenix.  A wonderful evening of music to cherish until next season.

Advertisements