Gayle Williams writes in The Sarasota Tribune: Lately the Anu Tali and the Sarasota Orchestra have been putting this self-respecting music critic in a bit of a pickle.
\With performances consistently at such high levels, what is there to write but endless words of praise?
Even in the dry acoustic of Bradenton’s Neel Performing Arts Hall on Thursday night, we were all charmed by a quirky program which started with a fanciful symphonic poem by Jean Sibelius.
Scored here for piano, horns and strings without the complement of basses, “Skogsrået” (The Wood Nymph), based on a poem by Viktor Rydberg, brings to life the story of poor Bjorn and his seduction and demise at the hands of a wood nymph.
Tali held the atmospheric underpinnings of the orchestra to the service of the story so that the masterfully delivered narration of voice actor Jeffrey Plunket could be easily followed.
The results were indeed magical. What a treat to hear this relatively unknown work.
Reinhold Gliere’s popular Harp Concerto score contains nothing new, but is a lovely, jocular vehicle for showcasing the capabilities of a master harpist. De Maistre didn’t leave anything on the table with his crisp technique and style. Yet this paled in comparison with what followed: the legendary fellow Russian, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique.”
And now my dilemma: It should be no surprise to regular concert attendees that our Sarasota Orchestra can knock this music out of the ball park. We know that most of the conductor’s work is done in rehearsal, but it remains a joy to watch Anu Tali mold the sound with her arms and coax the musicians along for those unified wow moments.
Much has been made of the specific program of this symphony. This is somber, pondering music that opens itself to a joyous appreciation of life in the waltzing second movement that seems to propel the listener forward on a good-natured ride.
The skittish, nervous energy of the third movement turns a long suspense-filled maniacal march into triumphal blaze of Sarasota’s now amazing upper and low brass. Of course, we all wanted to cheer. Yet, the best was yet to come, for the last movement was the work of a master offering an orchestral moan of release and resignation. To experience this is sublime.
Excerpts from the Review in The Sarasota Tribune, March 6, 2015.
Sent to VES by Silva Jensen