Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Phoenix Symphony delights with Strauss

Michael Christie broke his typical mould of muted / rather staid / mediocre directing to put on a delightful concert last Saturday. A bumpy start with Alfred Schnittke's Moz-Art a la Haydn was quickly forgotten as Orion Weiss sat down at the grand piano and played a masterful rendition of Mozart's Concerto No.9 in E-flat major. Wow! Young Mr Weiss is a remarkable pianist, and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra accompanied him beautifully. It was truly delightful!

Intermission was too crowded to get a cocktail, but I was hoping the Strauss line up post-intermission would not require any ethanol to enjoy it. My hopes were fulfilled, and expectations exceeded. Christie selected, and did a much-better-than-usual job of conducting Auf's Korn! Bundesschutzen Marsch, Frühlingsstimmen, Feurerfest Polka, Neue Pizzicato Polka, Overture Die Fledermaus, An der schönen blauen Donau, and the "Galop" from Prinz Methusalen op.378. Our 2nd row seats in the 2nd section had excellent acoustics, and the symphony's various string and wind and brass voices sang out beautifully... in piano and Forte. Impressive. Encouraging. Refreshing.

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