Saturday, April 03, 2010

ANDREW LITTON and the CSO

Conductor Andrew Litton came to the Colorado Symphony tonight for a strangely programmed evening. The evening opened with a forgettable performance of Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture. I'm not much of a fan of Wagner, and this is far from his most interesting work.

This was followed by a great performance of Bernstein's Serenade, which I did not know before coming in. It's a much more difficult piece than I imagined, both for the performers and the audience. The violin soloist Karen Gomyo was fantastic, but the audience was not into it at all, unfortunately. The program was odd, and the Serenade did not fit well in the middle. It's a little long, which made the whole night feel a bit long, even though it wasn't. I was unsure about Litton's conducting on the Wagner, but he started to win me over on the Bernstein with some nice can-shaking in the faster, more rhythmic parts.

The highlight of the evening was the Tchaikovsky Pathetique Symphony, one of the first orchestral pieces I fell in love with. One of the most beautifully melodic pieces ever written, the CSO brought it to life wonderfully tonight. Litton won me over for good in the third movement when he leaped about five feet in the air at the beginning of the climax. At the end of the movement, the audience was ready to leap to their feet, but because he paused for less than half a second to start the fourth movement, he cut them off at the pass. It was brilliant and made me see a much stronger musical relationship between the movements.

I like Litton. I don't know if he is under consideration for the open position here, but I kinda hope he is.
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