|Written by Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun|
|Thursday, 09 December 2004 12:08
|On Saturday night at the Gordon Center in Owings Mills, the Concert Artists of Baltimore started off with Bruckner’s Mass in E minor from 1866, a work of richly layered harmonies, stirring melodic lines and imaginative wind instrument accompaniment. It glows with the sincerity of a true believer.
Edward Polochick led his finely honed chorus and attentive wind ensemble in a warmly shaded performance that reflected Bruckner’s originality at every turn of phrase.
To complete the theme of this program, Polochick offered another item that eschews string instruments – John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music from 1982. With two pianos as protagonists, winds and percussion as primary partners, and three amplified singers as extra backup and coloring, this minimalist score delivers a great kick.
Grand Pianola Music is never just about harmonic directness, reiteration and motion. It throws in abstraction, eloquence and wit as well to make an arresting statement.
Polochick didn’t get a firmly in-gear response from the ensemble at the start, but the performance soon settled into a comfortable groove and reached an exhilarating lift in the finale. Pianists Clinton Adams and Jonathan Moyer proved brave and sturdy, matched in force by the other players.
Sopranos Ah Hong, Sara Berger and Yoo Jin Jeong articulated their almost entirely wordless lines brightly and tightly to maximize the pleasures in this masterpiece of minimalism.
Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun