Sunday, October 20, 2013

Russian Invasion

Natasha Paremski
This weekend the Russians invaded Boettcher Hall with the Colorado Symphony, featuring guest artist Natasha Paremski (originally from Moscow), and led by Bulgarian conductor Rossen Milanov.

It was also the 8th Annual Zombie Crawl. I'm always surprised that the Symphony does not leap on the opportunity to tie into this by having a Halloween-themed concert with Night on Bald Mountain, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, etc., or maybe excerpts from famous horror movie scores. If orchestras do not start thinking outside the box, they are not going continue to have audiences.

That said, this week's house was pretty full. Every year their Russian night does well. The evening opened with a piece by Prokofiev that I had never heard before, Russian Overture. I like Prokofiev a lot but this piece was forgettable and annoying in parts.

The evening then proceeded to the Rachmaninoff Concerto #2 as played by Paremski. The orchestra sounded fantastic, and she played well, but Denver has been spoiled by repeated  performances by Olga Kern, who has made the concerti her own.  Paremski did not play an encore even though the audience did not stop applauding.

After intermission, the highlight of the evening was the Little Russian Symphony (#2) of Tchaikovsky. I have always liked this piece, even though it is the least developed of his symphonies. (That's why 4-6 get played the most.)

It was an enjoyable evening, played extremely well by the orchestra.

I did not write a review, but we also saw the ballet Giselle the previous weekend. I'm not that knowledgable about dance, but this is probably the ballet I enjoyed the least since my wife and I started going. Musically, it sounded like watered-down Tchaikovsky, and dance-wise, the group did not seem as well synchronized as they had in the past. I am looking forward to seeing Cinderella in the spring.
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