Sublime to ridiculous, Miami Symphony offers a movable feast

By Jose Pagliery


The Miami Symphony Orchestra’s performance Sunday night proved just how playful the orchestra can be under conductor Eduardo Marturet.

 The night started with Reynaldo Hahn’s rarely played Mozart Overture, then turned to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself, with his Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major. The latter–an already playful piece—was given a joyful performance by the night’s guest, Giora Schmidt.

 Hahn’s overture is not easy to find elsewhere, as the conductor noted, which made Sunday’s performance all the more interesting. The  overture is a fast-paced play on Mozart’s often-jovial themes, with swooping crescendos that allowed the orchestra to showcase some artful  control of dynamics.

 Mozart’s concerto brought the 26-year-old  violinist to the stage, where his crisp playing mingled well with the orchestra behind him. During the piece’s first movement Allegro, Schmidt captured Mozart’s lighthearted themes and kept a steady hand during the demanding cadenza, with the acoustic of the Lincoln Theatre allowing the voice of his 1753 Guadagnini violin to shine.

 During the concerto’s Adagio, there was a repeated loss of cohesiveness in the violin section, which was later corrected during the movement’s denouement. The last movement  features the Allegro passage from which the concerto gets its “Turkish” title, which highlighted the orchestra’s collaborative synergy with Schmidt.

 The final two works demanded specific elements from the orchestra: control with Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, and energy with Jacques Ibert’s Divertissement.

 Wagner’s six-minute work is an impressionistic love song full of themes that grow more complex as the piece progresses. Written in 1870 for the composer’s lover, Cosima, in celebration of their infant son, Siegfried, it was presented to her by a small ensemble on Christmas morning.  Under Marturet’s direction, the themes were vividly brought to life, with the MSO violins bringing great intimacy from the music.

 Closing the evening was Ibert’s wildly ridiculous six-movement Divertissement, the orchestra providing the audience with the musical equivalent of a sweet chaser to a strong drink. Marturet’s unstoppable energy proved noteworthy, as it fulfilled the piece’s demands with uncontrolled abandon. For a work that ends with a percussionist wearing a Miami Heat baseball cap and blowing loudly into a referee whistle, “uncontrolled” may actually be a compliment.

Jose Pagliery is a freelance writer and classically trained pianist. He previously covered crime and politics as a staff reporter for the Miami Herald.

Posted in Performances

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Tue Apr 7, 2009
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