The Curtis Symphony Orchestra
Under Michael Stern with
Soloists: Jaime Laredo, violin, & Sharon Robinson, cello
Apr. 26, 2005
Tues., Apr. 26, 2005, @ Carnegie Hall: Isaac Stern Auditorium
By Josephine Reiter, Professor Emerita & Music Consultant
(See Professor Reiter at Bosendorfer New York.)
(See a second review of the performance.)
Bartok’s The Miraculous Mandarin Suite, Op. 19
Danielpour’s In the Arms of the Beloved:
Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, & Orchestra
Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 43
The Curtis Symphony Orchestra under Michael Stern presented a stellar program in Stern Auditorium as Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music came to town for its Curtis at Carnegie Gala concert Tuesday evening, April 26. This was a program that featured early modern Bartok, a contemporary work by Richard Danielpour and ended with the neoromantic Sibelius 2nd Symphony, all of which showcased the orchestra.
Bartok’s ballet suite from The Miraculous Mandarin, a compelling programmatic work boldly opened the concert. The vital dissonances, colorful contrasts in timbre, rhythmic freshness came through. Bartok believed this music to be among his best in 1927 as the program annotator indicated; and the young, accomplished orchestral players responded to conductor Stern to make the audience understand Bartok’s opinion.
The centerpiece of the first half of the program was Danielpour’s double concerto for orchestra, tied to the verse of a 13th-century Persian poet Jalal al-Din Rumi and entitled: In the Arms of the Beloved. This beautifully evocative work came into being at the request of the two featured soloists: violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson for performance at their 25th wedding anniversary celebration and then on a formal commission from the IRIS Chamber Orchestra of Germantown, Tennessee, and its founder and music director, Michael Stern. The sincerity and expressive feeling conveyed by the conductor and orchestra and the featured soloists enveloped the audience. Mr. Danielpour joined his faculty colleagues on the stage at the end. The entire program represented the best of the Curtis Institute of Music in one of the best venues in the world—Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium What a thrill for everyone there!
The final work was the expansively grand Symphony No. 2 in D Major by Jean Sibelius, Finland’s greatest composer. Michael Stern is a gifted conductor as evidenced by his impressive appointments and engagements worldwide. His intelligent pacing of the Sibelius 2nd Symphony made the fourth movement a superb ending to a splendid evening.