Review: Unfamiliar music in good hands at PSO concert
Persuasive performances of unfamiliar music preceded a distinctive account of a romantic-era masterpiece at Friday evening's Pittsburgh Symphony concert led by Gianandrea Noseda.
Music from Alfredo Casella's 1932 opera “La Donna Serpente” opened the concert with fresh and vigorous music, brilliantly scored.
Noseda led two suites from the opera, starting with the Second Suite. Its second movement began with a beautifully projected and sensitively drawn bassoon solo played by Nancy Goeres, which developed into an appealing duet with oboist Cynthia DeAlmeida. The principal oboist also shined in the opening of the First Suite.
Although impressive in many ways, Casella's score also is uneven, and doesn't escape excessive bombast. One can easily imagine that Benito Mussolini loved Casella's music for the glory of war.
Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 5 is one of the more infrequently performed of the composer's concerto works, though it has had its champions, such as Sviatoslav Richter.
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and Noseda made a very strong case for the work. The pianist, who was making his local debut, showed real affinity for the music. He had the technique to play Prokofiev's showy gestures with due flair, but more importantly he lived the phrases with the orchestra.
Noseda led a performance of Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 2 to complete the concert. It was an interpretation that brought to mind the fact that Felix Mendelssohn, known for his swift tempi, conducted the premiere in 1846.
The orchestra played with devotion and discipline for Noseda. The first movement's introduction started at a flowing sostenuto, but Noseda sped up a great deal when Schumann asked only for “a little more vivacious.” However, the main part of the first movement was extremely well-paced and animated.
The Scherzo was a tour de force for the orchestra's strings, especially first violins. The two Trios were both somewhat faster than the norm, but very nicely shaped and colored.
The slow movement was properly treated as the heart of the work, at a moderately slow tempo that suited the melody. DeAlmeida's oboe solo benefitted from an eloquent counterpoint from Goeres.
The finale provides a brilliant conclusion to the symphony, and drew an enthusiastic response from the audience.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Duquesne University football player died by suicide
- Pittsburgh police searching for man who shot juvenile in Allentown
- National Weather Service predicts up to 7 inches of snow before Sunday night
- Burial set for remains of World War II soldier from Perrysville
- Port Authority focusing on natural-gas bus fleet for proposed rapid transit line
- More departments in region eye equipping officers with Narcan to treat overdoses
- McCandless mortgage broker company president charged with bank fraud conspiracy
- Faithful stand together in Wilkinsburg
- New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers
- Black Pittsburghers still challenged in education, workforce, housing
- Region tied 81-year-old record low Saturday