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Smetana's Overture to Libuse opened the concert on a magisterial note. Despite the composer's nationalistic flare, the German influence remains strong in this music. The beautiful wind theme recalls the Prelude to Wagner's Lohengrin. The orchestral climax is truly Wagnerian. This is enthralling music. It is long past time for Libuse to receive a full scale North American production. The New World brass playing was wonderfully mellow and sonorous. Macal drew a superb performance from the entire ensemble.

Zdenek Macal is a great orchestral colorist. He brings tremendous enthusiasm and musical integrity to every work he conducts. (And not only in Czech music -- several seasons ago he led a reverent, eloquent performance of Leonard Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony and his Rachmaninoff Second Symphony was filled with Romantic ardor.) Macal makes music come alive!

Copyright © 27 April 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA



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