Christel DeHaan Center; Nov. 7
Anytime is the right time for a symphony-sized orchestra to program Beethoven's monumental Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, ("Choral"), Op. 125, with every three years being a typical interval for presenting Western European art's most-celebrated homage to world brotherhood. Last Saturday, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra's music director Kirk Trevor used Beethoven's magnum symphonic opus, lasting an hour and five minutes, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's removal. Preceding the symphony, Indiana's Poet Laureate, Norbert Krapf, read his own free-verse poem with the self-explanatory title, "Questions on a Wall," the entire concert sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany's Embassy. Clearly Beethoven meant for a larger string complement to be used for the Ninth than what Trevor had at his disposal. In some passages the horns blared too loudly while at others, we failed to hear them when we were supposed to, as in the choral movement before the voices appeared. Other places had instrumental textures a bit out of kilter. Yet, for those not honing in on these timbre aberrations, the performance went remarkably well. Trevor showed excellent control over the dynamics and phrase articulation, the first movement's dramatic tension almost unbearable in its unrelenting tempo. The Uindy-supplied chorus easily filled the DeHaan Center's Lilly Hall with the world famous chorale, set to Schiller's "Ode to Joy." Trevor opened the program with a polished account of Max Bruch's late-written, rather tepid, wholly Romantic Concerto in E Minor for Clarinet, Viola and Orchestra (1911) - with ICO clarinetist Eli Eban and ICO violist Csaba Erdélyi, a first exposure for this reviewer.