&ldquoAs Alsop faced the cellos and drew from them the most tremendously shaped phrases with every inflection of her baton, you were aware of being in the presence of greatness.&rdquo
29th April 2017

BSO explores music of the heart, spirit to compelling effect

This weekend, in one of the season’s most absorbing and superbly delivered programs, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra examines matters of the heart and soul.

The spiritual side comes in the form of two brilliant 20th-century works for chorus and orchestra — Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms” from 1930 and Arvo Part’s “Credo” from 1968. As for the heart, that’s represented by Rachmaninoff’s sumptuous Symphony No. 2, which, at least to me, is deeply soulful as well.

Friday night’s performance at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the program will be repeated Sunday, clicked right from the start and maintained a certain electrical charge the whole way through. Steady fuel for that charge came from music director Marin Alsop, who was at her most communicative…

In “Credo,” Part’s back-and-forth between the calm of Bach’s famous C major Prelude and outbursts of atonal aggression makes for a compelling experience. It suggests a good-versus-evil battle of cosmic proportions.

Alsop drew out the struggle’s contrasts in a vivid performance that enjoyed meaty playing from the orchestra, especially the snarling brass, and terrific singing by the University of Maryland Concert Choir. Lura Johnson phrased the piano solos deftly.


29 APRIL, 2017