ONE: this is a brilliant program. Two brass concerti, featuring Venezuelan super-virtuoso Pacho Flores, and two popular Aaron Copland works, were bookended by sublime overtures by Mozart and Bernstein. ONE-A: a surprising common musical thread weaves its way through Mozart’s Overture to ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’, the ‘Concerto for Corno da Caccia’, by J.B.G. Neruda (a contemporary of Bach and Mozart), and the first movement of the new Arturo Márquez ‘Concerto for Trumpet‘ – a sustained, repeated melodic syncopation. The TSO Music Director, José Luis Gomez, is a sly one!
TWO: this performance by Pacho Flores was a soulful and energetic gift to this audience. His tone, articulations, and musicality are masterly, while his virtuosity is both easy and mesmerizing. TWO-A: the Marquéz Concerto, written specifically for Pacho, covers a vast array of styles, and utilizes a different type of “corno” instrument for each movement. The finale, a virtuosic masterpiece, was given a BLISTERING, ear-opening performance by Pacho Flores – worth the price of admission alone. Even the (infamously sleepy) Tucson classical concert crowd was wowed to ovation. TWO-B: Señor Flores has a decidedly humorous side to his stage presence. To whit: solo brass performances always contain the necessary act of emptying the spit valves on the instrument. In the Neruda concerto, Pacho, large in physical stature, went through this routine with his miniature horn, emptying one valve, then holding the instrument above head level, to blow the saliva out of the second valve. Every player must engage in this chore, yet repeatedly executed, directly in front of the audience under spotlight, almost became a comic relief act during the beautifully and generously performed concerto. When, at the the end of the Márquez concerto, and again after the accompanied encore, Pacho tooted a spoiler note towards his comrade in arms, José Luis, the complete picture of his honest, open, and lovable joviality was complete. Great musicianship and fun showmanship all around! As composer Marquéz, who was here for this premier, came to the stage, a heart-warming, congratulatory celebration ensued between these three latin musical stars. What a treat for both the audience the orchestra!
The second half opened — accompanied by the orchestra playing Copeland’s familiar ‘Our Town’ — with a splendid photographic presentation, projected above the Music Hall stage,of the history of the TSO, now in its 90th year, and other events and places in this city’s storied cultural history. A very moving experience for everyone in attendance. The second half feature, the ever-popular ‘Four Selections From Rodeo’ by Copeland, and especially Bernstein’s virtuoso circus for orchestra, A.K.A. ‘The Overture to Candide’, were given, on this night, top notch execution and interpretation. These closing pieces, again, as we have come to expect, showed off the beautiful marriage of this orchestra and its Music Director. This is a fine, fun, and talented ensemble, whose love for its conductor is expressed in how well they respond to his exuberant, expressive direction. It is obvious, watching and listening, that this immense positive energy overflows in both directions. This longish program, was yet satisfying every joyful step of the way. Bravi, tutti!
Friday night, 25 January 2019, Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Fresh Music, Copland and More’ Classic concert:
gendelsmusicreviews.blogspot.com – Steven Gendel – Tucson, 26.01.2019