Two concerts at one sitting characterized Friday's Circle

Theatre event, running from 7 to 10

p.m. -- opening with the annual appearance of the Honor Orchestra of America, a

collection of the best high school musicians from all over the country. They meet only here for only one week of

rehearsing and concertizing. They performed two overtures and the final movement from Mahler's

First symphony at a near astonishing level with Larry Livingston their mentor

and conductor. Any

orchestra whose strings play on pitch from start to finish may be equated to

professionals. In

one respect it's a shame this body of young musicians can't stay together while

playing together. They

would only get better.

The ISO took over at 8:10

after the approximately one hundred Honor Orchestra players were seated in the

upper mezzanine, elevating the Circle audience total to about half a house. Guest conductor

Andrey Boreyko, along with guest cellist Mark Kosower, opened with Richard

Strauss' redoubtable tone poem Don

Quixote--Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character, Op. 35

(1897). And

this just several weeks after the orchestra played Strauss' previous--and completely

contrasting--tone poem Also Sprach

Zarathrustra (1896) under its music director Krzysztof UrbaƄski.

Consisting of an introduction, ten variations, and an

epilogue, each one bridging into the next, Quixote

had Boreyko steering his forces through the Don's many exploits, some imagined,

with good precision at apropos tempos. When, in Variation 2, he and Sancho

Panza encounter a bevy of sheep, the "bleating" trumpets seemed rather anemic

as heard from the First Mezzanine. In like manner Variation 7--the ride

through the air: The wind machine Strauss had made for this work also could

barely be heard above the orchestral din. Musically speaking, the two variations

suffered no great loss.

Kosower's cello work was largely quite splendid, his well

centered tone underlay an occasionally nervous vibrato which, in fact, helped

reveal the Don's demented character. The solo viola was also excellent in

portraying the Don's "servant" Sancho Panza, as was the solo oboe portraying

the Don's love, the beautiful Dulcinea (in realty only a stable girl).

After the break, Boreyko, with the occasional assistance of

mezzo-soprano Barbara Rearick, played the suite from Manuel de Falla's ballet-pantomime

El amor brujo (Love, the Magician). This includes the

world famous "Ritual Fire Dance" and with apropos music explores the world of

Spanish gypsy lovers. Rearick

sang in only a few selections in a work dominated by the orchestra.

Once again Boreyko got precsion playing from his orchestra,

with prominent trumpet work right on the money. Rearick vocalized excellently--when she

could be heard. With

an orchestra this prominent, the mezzo regustration has a hard time competing. Human hearing is

most sensitive in the upper soprano range, such that most sopranos can easily

out-sing any instrumental ensemble. I recommend the use of a guitar-style

mike/amplifier/speaker for a mezzo singing in this Falla work. As well as in his more ambitious Three-cornered Hat, written some four

years later.

Rounding out Boreyko's program was Four Dances (1952) from the ballet Estancias (1941) by Alberto Ginastera (1915-1983). Consisting of one soft, langurous

dance (no. 2) and three breathtakingly loud ones, the group appeared to be

played to a farthing. With

thundering applause, so ended this late-Romantic/early Modern program. March 11

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