ISO Classical Series Program No. 14
Hilbert Circle Theatre; April 8-10.
One hour and four minutes. That's how long it took Mark Wigglesworth to wend the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra through Rachmaninoff's towering but tuneful Second Symphony (in E Minor, Op. 27 – 1906). The length was mostly due to the conductor's restoring the first-movement cuts the composer had sanctioned for the work's early recordings. Wigglesworth, his second appearance as ISO guest conductor after a decade, also repeated Rachmaninoff's long, first-movement exposition, expanding the movement to 25 minutes. This British podium artist had greatly impressed in his first appearance with a precise, dynamically shaped Shostakovich 10th. Clearly he's lost none of his abilities. He made the Rach 2nd exciting with the same adjectives, even though taking a generally moderate tempo, as performances go. Excellent solo work complemented the reading, the strings as an ensemble the most on cue. We're basked in the composer's lovely lyric, third-movement melody perhaps a bit too often — characteristic of this last vestige of a Romantic chestnut. A greater treat preceded the symphony, as pianist Adam Golka substituted for injured violinist Leila Josefowicz, and Beethoven's First Piano Concerto in C, Op. 15, took the place of the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto. One of the two American Pianists Association 2009 Fellows, Golka, at 22, impresses as one of the finest musician/virtuosos touring today. But more than that, Wigglesworth and his orchestra gave us one of the most beautifully phrased accounts of any Classical-era work I've heard in some while, with he and Golka in perfect sync throughout. Golka made liberal use of the pedal without passage smearing. All three movements made this a concert to remember.
-- Tom Aldridge