Wardlaw-Bailey has a good reputation as an accompanist and teacher in
Wardlaw-Bailey was in full control of the percussive and lyric passages alike, extremely precise and compelling from start to finish, delving into the quicksilver music with a lively sense of exploration and plenty of energy. Several big-name pianists have visited
The violin section has often been the Achilles' heel of ACO concerts, the collective intonation a matter of consensus rather than unity. We've come to expect it; after all, this is an ensemble of community volunteers. But the sound on Saturday was remarkably together and confident. Some of that is no doubt due to hard work during the past year, in which time we've noticed steady improvement. But I'm willing to credit part of the improvement to
It was a big sound and it paid big dividends in the Seventh Symphony of
In these places, the violins provided the muscle, often in conjunction with the low brass. The surge in the slow movement, for example, soared powerfully, ravishingly. Elsewhere, however, in a quiet fughetta, things were scrambled; the violin section wasn't always matched by their colleagues with the lower strings.
Nonetheless, the Glazunov was a brave and rewarding number to put on the program. In the past 45 years I've attended about 200 orchestra concerts and heard maybe 50 symphonies, 90 percent by the same seven men. It was nice to hear something substantial and different. Again, the audience made some loud noise at the end.
The concert opened with Rimsky-Korsakov's "Procession of the Nobles," which suffered from weakness in the trumpets.
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