Three and a half stars

Hilbert Circle Theater;

Feb. 29-March 1

Conductor Larry Livingston led an orchestra of high school students from across the country this past weekend, an impressive group. They only had a few days to put together some very mature works, and they are to be commended for their efforts and obvious love of music. Barnabas Kelemen, gold medalist of the 2002 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, joined them for Camille Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and what a joy it was to hear him. He plays with gusto and fire, and his rich sound traveled throughout the hall. I was surprised at Livingston’s choices for the other works of the night: the first movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 2, Resurrection, and the last movement of Ottorino Respighi’s The Pines of Rome. Neither of these movements stand well by themselves, for they are integral parts of much larger works, and all movements are needed to faithfully honor and realize the composers’ intentions. I would have expected Livingston, being the musician he is, to have taken that into account. Nevertheless, the kids sounded wonderful, and are to be congratulated on their music-making.

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