ASO January 14 & 16

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Atlanta Symphony

January 14/16, 2016

The ASO presents a very unusual program this week. With Robert Spano conducting, they do have a wonderful presentation of Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra in C.

With Simon Trpčeski on the piano, the presentation is first-class. Trpčeski, who hails from Macedonia has played around the world and to very apprciative audiences. He is a young man who has the power of an Artur Rubenstein at the keyboard.

The audience was standing with applause and would not sit back down until he re-enetered the stage for a short encore piece.

The first segment of the evening concert is Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4. This is not your grandmother’s sort of symphony in any way. First, while he dubbed it a symphony, it is not of the normal type. It is actually a song cycle of 11 very morose compositions, set to a turgidly slow tempo.

The vocals are handled by soprano Tatiana Monogarova and bass singer Morris Robinson. They plod their way through one stanza after another dealing with untimely deaths. Not the sort of thing you need to deal with if you have been through it in real life.

The ASO does present English super-title translations of the lyrics, which are each drawn from very somber poets. And we must realize that Shostakovich was one who lived through many versions of hell, being born in Mother Russia in 1906 and passing out of this world in Moscow in 1975, before Glasnost was declared.

It is not like Beethoven’s 5th, and is more like one of those “been there, seen that” kind of pieces. But, well done with a chamber orchestra on the stage and some unusual percussion in the work. Please note that you MUST get there on time as late arrivals may not be seated once the 51 minute opus starts.