A message from your Charlotte Symphony regarding COVID-19 >> CLICK HERE

Sound of Charlotte Blog

Observer: Charlotte Symphony enables sun to shine in ‘Spring’ Symphony

By Steven Brown | 11/3/2012 | Charlotte Observer
Reblogged from Charlotte Observer

Everyone else can think about falling back this weekend. The Charlotte Symphony, despite the end of daylight saving time, is busy springing forward through Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1.
That's also known as the "Spring" Symphony, of course. Thanks to the orchestra, it's living up to its nickname, in both senses of the word.

The orchestra sprang through it Friday night. With Christof Perick, the group's former leader, back on the podium, the orchestra was crisp, clear and agile. It filled the opening movement with bounding energy. It flung out the scherzo's buoyantly rhythmic chords. It breezed through the finale's jauntiness and byplay.
As for spring, the season: Its sunshine arrived with the brasses' gleam in the very first phrases. The woodwinds' warmth in an array of lyrical sections enhanced it. The strings contributed to it through the coziness they gave the slow movement, which wasn't really that slow. The way it flowed along, its peaceful melody could've been blooming before everyone's ears.

With the motion that ran through the whole symphony, Perick and the orchestra could have been looking forward to Schumann's Symphony No. 3, which salutes a great European river the Rhine. Instead, they moved on after intermission to a river farther east: the Moldau, the subject of Bedrich Smetana's beloved tone poem.

The qualities that made the orchestra so appealing in the "Spring" Symphony were just as winning in "The Moldau" and "From Bohemia's Meadows and Forests," another of Smetana's portraits of his homeland.
"The Moldau" started quietly, but that didn't mean it started small: The flutes and clarinets blended silkily in the purling theme that sets the river in motion. The little wedding dance was airy and cheerful. The strings made the moonlight scene glisten and when the trombones and tuba entered with their theme underneath, they added fullness and depth without breaking the mood. That took skill and control.
Speaking of finesse: There were further generous helpings of it in the way the woodwinds sang out their big tune in "From Bohemia's Meadows and Forests." Opening up like a full-through chorus, they were full, smooth and well-blended. Those used to be qualities they hardly ever displayed. But they're commanding them more and more often a welcome development.

After Smetana's booming final chords, Perick and the orchestra added an encore: one of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances. It was just as jubilant as Smetana had been. Perick and the group especially savored its quick changes between gusto and grace.

The orchestra played lustily in the stormy spots of the concert's opener, Carl Maria von Weber's Overture to "Der Freischutz." The group dug into the exuberant finish, too. But the opening, meant to evoke the mystery and supernatural that drive the plot of Weber's opera, didn't quite take hold. The orchestra, with its modest-size string section, didn't command the dark-hued sound that would've created the mood. The group manages to summon such tones once in a while, as in Stravinsky's "Firebird" Suite earlier this month. But for the players to do it dependably is a development that has yet to come. Until there are more players, it probably can't come.
Read more news and reviews >
Read more

Posted in Classics. Tagged as Charlotte Observer, Christof Perick, Classical, Musicians, Review, Schumann, Smetana, The Moldau.

Observer: Perick enjoys freelancer’s life — at least for a while

By Steven Brown | 11/1/2012 | Charlotte Observer
Reblogged from Charlotte Observer Critical Mass

It's lucky that Christof Perick had a nonstop flight from Germany to Charlotte. Otherwise, Mother Nature might've gotten in his way for the second time -- which would've been particularly ungrateful of her this week,  since the music he'll conduct with the Charlotte Symphony is a celebration of nature's power and beauty.

A volcanic eruption in April 2010 blasted a dust cloud over Europe that kept Perick from conducting his last concerts as the orchestra's music director. But he circumvented Sandy on Monday. So he's back for a three-week U.S. visit. It will not only return him to the Charlotte podium he occupied for nine seasons, but offer him other reminiscences of his work on this side of the Atlantic -- or, as he put it Tuesday, his "28-year history of conducting in this wonderful country."

He plans visit friends in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles -- all cities where he has conducted prominently -- and close with the San Diego Symphony, which he has guest-conducted repeatedly over 20-plus years. (A Perick travel tip: If you ever travel from L.A. to San Diego, go by train. The ride offers spectacular views of the coast.)

But first: The Charlotte Symphony concerts this weekend may offer some reminiscences of their own. They'll start with Carl Maria von Weber's Overture to "Der Freischutz," an opera that received full-length, concert-style performances from Perick and the orchestra in 2003. Next will come the "Spring" Symphony, Schumann's exuberant hymn to nature's annual rebirth. To cap things off, two of Bedrich Smetana's portraits of his native Bohemia: the beloved "The Moldau" and the less-famous but equally catchy "From Bohemia's Forests and Meadows."

Perick hadn't yet gotten in front of the orchestra Tuesday morning. But he credited his successor, Christopher Warren-Green, for the fact that the orchestra is financially "safer" -- quickly rapping his knuckles on a wooden table in the Charlotte Symphony's office -- than it was during Perick's time.
"I think it's probably because Christopher is living here," Perick said. He thinks Warren-Green's presence in Charlotte, promoting the orchestra around town, is "very important. I think it's very good. I was always saying that -- the orchestra needs someone who is (visible) at the arena, across the street."
"I couldn't do that," Perick, who's based in Germany, added. "I didn't have the time to do that. In that regard, I'm not a good American music director. Because you need that talent and that outgoing personality to do all those things (in the community) convincingly."

But Perick takes pride in cultivating the Charlotte Symphony's  style and precision -- something Warren-Green has complimented  from his own perspective. Perick points to similar work back home in Germany, where he last year finished a stint as music director of the Nuremberg State Theater. Zeroing in on a cycle of Mozart operas with the company's singers -- such as the vibrant Heidi Meier, who also made a couple of visits to Charlotte -- was a highlight, he said.

Continue reading the entire article >>

Read more

Posted in Classics. Tagged as Christof Perick, Christopher Warren-Green, Classical, Schumann, Smetana, The Moldau.