Critic’s Choice

By Lawrence Budmen

Peter Oundjian. Photo: Sian Richards

This weekend conductor Peter Oundjian leads the New World Symphony in a typically adventurous program featuring two symphonies written in the mid-1930s. Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1 is a dramatic work, cast in a single movement. Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 4 belies the British composer’s reputation as a creator of pastoral music; the Fourth Symphony is angry, dissonant and astringent, a formidable orchestral tour de force. Rachmaninoff’s familiar Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is the concert’s centerpiece with former South Florida resident Valentina Lisitsa as soloist.

Performances take place 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton for Festival of the Arts Boca (561-368-8445;, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the New World Center in Miami Beach.305-673-3331;


Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is the marquee attraction on the Cleveland Orchestra’s final season program of its annual Miami residency but the South Florida premiere of Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs may be the concert’s real event. A setting of five love poems by Pablo Neruda, the cycle was written for mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, the composer’s wife, who sang the premiere shortly before her death after a long battle with breast cancer. The work has been highly acclaimed and several mezzos have followed Hunt Lieberson in performing the songs. Elizabeth DeShong, a young singer with Met and Glyndebourne Festival credits, is Cleveland’s soloist with Giancarlo Guerrero conducting. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. 305-949-6722;

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Wed Mar 13, 2013
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