Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Sunday, 27 September 2009 19:12

St. Louis Symphony

September 25 and 26, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Opening night for the 2009-10 season of the St. Louis Symphony brought together the works of two Jewish composers, born exactly 100 years apart, and on opposite sides of the globe, yet perhaps sharing bonds that transcend space and time.  Osvaldo Golijov, born in 1960 in Argentina, brings a similar love of nature and folk/ethnic music that captivated Gustav Mahler, born in 1860 in Bohemia.

Golijov's new work for cello and orchestra, Azul, is his personal tribute to all of nature.  The various sound effects are redolent of the ocean, the rainforest, mountain winds--or perhaps whatever inspires the listener.  The piece is meditative and reflective, yet not devoid of passion.  Soloist Daniel Lee, principal cellist with the Symphony, certainly imbued the work with intensity and insight.  It is always a joy to watch cellists--the entire body and soul of the performer must work the instrument and wring forth the depth of its beauty.  Lee did not disappoint; he seemed unwaveringly at one with the piece and with his instrument.  It was clear that Lee had carefully devoted himself to this work.

In keeping with the inspiration he derives from world music, Golijov included additional percussion parts, played on various drums and rhythm instruments by Jamey Haddad and Keita Ogawa.  The work also included a part for hyper-accordion (electronically enhanced), performed by Michael Ward-Bergerman.  The effects added an almost ethereal atmosphere to the work, creating a true tapestry of orchestral sound.

Like Golijov, Gustav Mahler was also greatly inspired by the sounds of nature.  Few composers have matched his depth of insight into our very souls.  Although his music often calls for hundreds of performers at a time, yet he still finds the beauty in a single voice, as evidenced by the opening trumpet solo of the Symphony No. 5, performed by Susan Slaughter in her last year with the Symphony.  Mahler has a way of finding the divine in the mundane; the folk songs we grow up with and the sounds of our everyday lives are transformed into the music of the universe in his hands.  Mahler believed a symphony should reflect the macrocosm of all life, and his works always deliver.

Sometimes contemporary works do not always pair well with the classics, but that happily was not the case with this program.  The opening work by Osvaldo Golijov was impressionistic and dream-like, which requires far more precision than audiences may realize.  Mahler, on the other hand, requires the precision of careful phrasing and articulation.  Music director David Robertson was able to deliver on both fronts.  If anything, Robertson seems to have grown ever more secure and at ease with this orchestra, and his fluency was definitely apparent in this opening program.  I have not always shared Robertson's devotion to certain new works (there is nothing magic in the word "contemporary", although we must always be open to new ideas), but this time he selected a winner.

The St. Louis Symphony is off to a fine start with this program. For information on upcoming events, contact the Symphony box office at 314-534-1700.

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Lida Una

Sun October 5

Brian Owens

Mon September 29
Brian Owens is an American soul singer and songwriter from St. Louis. His new album Preach combines grooves, with soul touching lyrics.. Preach is a well produced album that speaks to the modern times,…

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-guitar.jpg

KDHX Recommends

October
Saturday
25

KDHX Reggae Soundclash

St. Louis area DJs and sound systems meet at the Stage at KDHX for a reggae soundclash. The event pits Dub Prophecy vs. Massive Hi Fi in a “friendly clash” – alternating sets of the toughest sounds and the best of...


November
Thursday
06

Discovery Series: All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in...

KDHX presents "All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in 1968" as part of the Discovery Series. Series passports can be bought online. This event looks at the music and activism of 1968, through...


November
Friday
07

Art Attack 2014

Start your chainsaws, St. Louis. On November 7th, KDHX presents Art Attack 6: a chaotic art auction that supports KDHX and puts the fate of 32 local artists in your hands. Join us for a night of fine art, drinks and destruction....


Online Users

12 users and 9016 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook