Review: Stella Artois Happy Hour at the ISO

Percussion soloist Colin Currie headlined at the Happy Hour with a virtuoso performance.

3.5 stars

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra,

Hilbert Circle Theatre, March 17, Steve Hackman, conductor &


Percussion soloist Colin Currie was the

headliner, and deservedly so with a virtuoso performance of British

composer Dave Maric’s first and final movements of Trilogy

for solo live and sample percussion.

With Currie playing against and with an

acoustic track, the first feel was funky pulsating dynamism taking

you to a range of percussive places you hadn't known existed. The

virile excitement of the final movement recalled hearing Steve Reich

for the first time. Currie partnered expressively with the ISO for

the poetic second movement from Incantations, an other-worldly

concerto by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, who Sibelius

named his protégé.

Equally exciting was the premiere ISO

appearance by the Indianapolis-based Icarus Ensemble: Jon Crabiel,

percussion; Dean Franke, violin; Peter Hansen, bass; Mark Ortwein,

electric bass, soprano sax and bass clarinet; and Gary Walters,

piano. We’ve heard the sextet on their own at the Jazz Kitchen

and other local venues, so this coupling with the ISO created a

delightful dimension with original compositions and arrangements.

Ortwein’s “Pepperoni Grande

con Queso Mas” served up a zestful interplay and Hansen’s

“Merry Go Round” showcased individuality and section

sparkle for a take on the regenerating main theme. Walters’

arrangements for Icarus with ISO brought expanded emotional depth to

Percy Grainger’s “Danny Boy” and lilting turns to

Ronan Hardiman’s music from “The Lord of the Dance.”

ISO players showcased Grainger’s “Molly on the Shore”

and Sibelius’ Finlandia, Op.26.