|Written by Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun|
|Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:43|
American music – North and South – was the focus Saturday night at the Concert Artists of Baltimore’s season finale at the Gordon Center in Owings Mills. The event deserved a much bigger audience.
Artistic director Edward Polochick can be counted on to build unusual programs (and to spend a little too much time talking about them from the stage). In this case, he paired Samuel Barber’s well-worn Adagio for Strings with the composer’s less often encountered Cello Concerto, then moved to very colorful pieces by Dominick Argento and Alberto Ginastera.
Polochick paced the Adagio beautifully, which, aside from a few uneven entrances, is how the musicians played it.
The ensemble’s principal cellist, Gita Ladd, tackled the Concerto fearlessly and with a wonderfully rich tone. Her bold performance caught the swaggering force of the first movement and urgent poetry of the second in compelling fashion.
Barber’s disjointed finale doesn’t do any favors for interpreters, but, other than a few rough patches, Ladd got much out of it. All the while, conductor and orchestra provide solid support.
Argento’s witty A Royal Invitation, inspired by the queen of Tonga’s amusing and endearing involvement with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, was brightly delivered. Flute, oboe, bassoons and horns excelled along the way.
The pulse-racing suite from Ginastera’s Estancia found Polochick and company in peak form. The opening movement’s debt to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was thunderously underlined. The brutal, contagious energy of the concluding Malambo came across so powerfully that it was hard to believe only about 45 musicians were onstage, not 90.
Copyright © 2005, The Baltimore Sun