Showing posts with label Lloyd Shorter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lloyd Shorter. Show all posts

Friday, November 2, 2018

DSO Opens Chamber Series with Woodwind Program

By Christine Facciolo

In a commendable change of pace, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra (DSO) opened its Chamber Concert Series with a a memorable evening of music for woodwinds.

The DSO Woodwind Quintet proved to be exciting and dynamic performers by offering a program that was both eclectic and entertaining.

Playing works that were stylistically distinct the five musicians in the group — Kimberly Reighley, flute; Lloyd Shorter, oboe; Charles Salinger, clarinet; Jon Gaarder, bassoon and Karen Schubert, horn — showed the diversity of the woodwind quintet despite the paucity of repertoire for it.

The ensemble warmed up with expertly crafted works by notable French flutist and teacher Claude-Paul Taffanel's Wind Quintet in G minor and his contemporary Charles Lefebvre's Suite for Winds No. 1, Op. 57. The latter is a standard of the wind quintet repertoire, demonstrating a superior understanding of how to orchestrate for these five instruments.

Taffanel’s Suite for Winds is thoroughly French and late Romantic in style with rapidly changing moods.

The most interesting piece in the concert was Paquito D’Rivera’s Aires Tropicales, written in 1994. This charmer of a piece contains a wealth of melodic traditions, playful inventions and enticing rhythms. Noteworthy movements included “Dizzyness,” a tribute to the late, great Dizzy Gillespie, Habanera, a trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon in the style of Ravel, Contradanza, an upbeat Cuban dance honoring Ernesto Lecuonar. Vals Venezolano, a lively Venezuelan waltz and Afro, an energetic dance over an African ostinato.

The evening of varied music concluded with a performance of Aria and Quodlibet for Woodwind Quintet by clarinetist Arne Running (1943-2016). The Aria contains a chorale in the low winds, the repetition of which features Shorter’s oboe singing high above the melodic line. The Quodlibet is sheer fun; a pastiche of tunes from virtually every corner of the musical world.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Delaware Valley Chorale at the Newark United Methodist Church

Jeffrey Manns has taken on the daunting role of assistant conductor of the Delaware Valley Chorale while David Christopher is on leave and he is putting all of his energy into the task. The concert began with a haunting organ solo of O come, o come Emmanuel. The fifteen male choristers were in position as the ladies marched forward from the back of the church to join them. The antiphonal echoes in Terry Schlenker’s arrangement sometimes made it appear that various sections were starting a beat late. Schlenker’s arrangement of Let all moral [SIC] flesh keep silence had some very interesting effects with parallel fifths which evoked an intriguing oriental flavor. The organ bass line helped guide the male singers in their fugue but the high pitches from the sopranos were a bit shaky. Of the father’s love begotten went more smoothly as the choir settled in, but the final phrase by Gus Mercante came out far too loudly.

In the bleak midwinter featured Fa Lane Fields’ pure yet fully rounded soprano voice which carries well and yet retains the delicacy of a child’s voice. Lloyd Shorter’s English horn and Kimberly Doucette’s strong soprano voice had no trouble standing out above the chorus, organ and piano in Maurice Besly’s The shepherds had an angel. Witnessing the magic of laser-like musical focus by Ms. Doucette and Mr. Shorter reminded me of what making music should be.

The Giovanni Gabrielli Hodie was ruined by the singers’ efforts to sing more loudly than they could comfortably manage. Kurt Collins’ brilliant organ accompaniment had sparkling glissandi and the brass chorale (George Rabbai and Jonathan Barnes, trumpet, Timothy Soberick, tenor trombone and Barry McCommon, bass trombone) had great verve, bounce and clarity. Organ and brass were allowed to show their lively musicality as soloists in the Gabrielli Canzona per sonare No. 4.

For me the highlight of the concert was the Daniel Pinkham Christmas Cantata. It was clear that Mr. Manns had focused all of his rehearsals on this difficult piece. The pitches were accurate, the diction was outstandingly clear and the dynamic he demanded of the chorus was soft enough to allow the muted brass chorale at the end of the O magnum mysterium to be heard as a whispering shimmer.