Saturday, October 24, 2009


Olga Kern completed her cycle of Rachmaninoff works with the Colorado Symphony tonight, with the Concert #2, the most popular of his works. The concert opened with two choral pieces, one movement of the Vespers, which was gorgeous a capella chorus. This was followed by The Bells, a work based on Poe's poem. Not quite as good as the other lesser-known works we heard (we were also at last week's performance), but entertaining nonetheless. The soprano and bass solos were very good, but the tenor expressed almost no emotion while singing. He also could not be heard over the orchestra.

The highlight of the evening, of course, was Miss Kern, who wore a flashy yellow dress, and hammered away at the Rach 2 like it was written for her. Perhaps if there is a criticism to be made tonight, the piece could have used a lighter touch in some places, although her playing in the third movement was gorgeous. One of the light moments in the second movement was ruined by an idiot audience member's cell phone ringing. There was audible disgust in response throughout the rest of the audience.

Miss Kern was very gracious after her standing ovation, and spoke quite niceley to the crowd, or "her public" as she called us in her thick accent. She then played a lovely duet with conductor Jefferey Kahane, playing it twice through, with the two of them switching positions at the piano for the repeat. They made a lovely pair.

I believe all of these concerts were sold out. I wish more of the concerts had decent audiences, this is a stunningly good orchestra, and they deserve more local support.

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