Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra: 'Music and War'

 

Last Saturday featured the only Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra "Chamber Conversations" program this season, with the topic "Music and War." Paul Phillips of Providence, R.I., served as host, guest composer and piano accompanist. ICO music director Kirk Trevor was joined by guest singers: baritone Kyle Farrill and soprano Kathryne Jennings (a husband and wife team). Mainline composers selected for the topic included Monteverdi, Handel, Haydn, Stravinsky and Shostakovich. Phillips offered a song from his Battle-Pieces, and ended the program with selections from his War Music Suite. First the good news: The two singers had good, nicely controlled voices and blended well. Trevor and the ICO's account of Haydn's second movement from his "Military" Symphony (No. 100 in G) with its clattering Turkish drums and cymbals was excellently wrought. Phillips articulated his discussions well while Trevor did not - a couple of his ad-libs being inappropriate. The second half began with "Mars" from Holst's The Planets, which, halfway through, bridged into the American standard "I'll be Seeing You, in All the Old Familiar Places" with piano and the two singers. Nothing was said about it either before or afterward, nor did it appear in the program booklet. Bad trumpet execution in Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, plus the presentation being occasionally awkward and suggesting poor preparation, left me feeling they could have done a lot better.

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