Sunday, November 18, 2012

Zukerman and the Colorado Symphony

Pinchas Zukerman Conducted the Colorado Symphony this Weekend
Pinchas Zukerman returned to the Colorado Symphony this weekend for a concerto of very conservative standards by Vivaldi, Bruch and Mozart.

There's an old musician's joke, "Bach wrote thousands of works in his lifetime. Vivaldi wrote the same piece thousands of times." Aside from The Four Seasons, there is very little memorable in Vivadi's oeuvre, and the Concerto in Bb for Violin & Cello is no exception; it seems familiar as Vivaldi but is quickly forgotten as the last notes rings out in the hall. The performance was quite nice, featuring Zukerman conducting and performing, sharing the stage with his wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth and an appropriately small string section.

The next two pieces by Max Bruch featured the cello solo and Zukerman conducting. The Canzone was quite nice, I don't think I've heard it before, but following it up with the Adagio on Celtic Melodies was a bit of a letdown. The first half ended with a spirited performance of Mozart's Haffner Symphony (#35). In many ways this was the highlight of the night, my only criticism was that the ritardando that Zukerman conducted at the end of each movement was unnecessary and not really period-appropriate.

After intermission, Zukerman performed and conducted the Mozart Violin Concerto #5 in A. It was a nice performance, but I can't help but wish that the program were not so traditionalist. He did manage to fill the house nicely at a time when Classical music is in danger, so it's hard to argue with the program, but there are better choices from Bruch or Dvorak, for instance, to balance the program while still remaining traditional.

As always, the orchestra performed beautifully (except in the last piece, the first horn kept cracking). As mentioned during the introduction, BBC Music magazine listed the Colorado Symphony as one of the 20 "Must See" musical performances when visiting North America, which is high praise.


The Happy Couple

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