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The 32 year old French conductor Ludovic Morlot proved to be a high energy dynamo on the BSO podium on 28 July. With a clear, precise beat, his music making was both inspirational and introspective. Whether accompanying Andre Watts's masterful performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 3, illuminating the misty impressionism of George Perle's Transcendental Modulations, or bringing feathery lightness to Berlioz's Le Corsair Overture and Ravel's La Valse, Morlot was a blazing leader -- a major talent!

In a feast of super-charged fiddling, Gidon Kremer essayed all five of Mozart's Violin Concertos with chamber music like precision and an awesome display of violinistic technique. The 5th Concerto had the dashing bravura of Heifetz! He also offered languid and fiery vignettes by Astor Piazzolla. Gil Shaham spun his molten tone down to the slenderest of threads in an eloquent, invigorating interpretation of Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Midori offered exquisite pianissimos, romantic fervor, and devilish pyrotechnics in Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1. Conductor Hans Graf was a superb partner for Shaham and Midori. He also offered a lush perusal of Stravinsky's complete Firebird and the perfect blend of romantic ardor and high spirits in Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. Add the beautifully articulated, lyrically incisive cello playing of BSO member Owen Young in Dvorák's gorgeous Silent Woods to the string marathon with the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Orchestra conducted fervently by James Gaffigan, Michael Tilson Thomas's new assistant in San Francisco. Gaffigan also drew a sensuous performance of Salome's Dance (from the Strauss opera) from the training ensemble.

In the palatial splendor of Ventfort Hall at the Museum of the Gilded Age (one of Lenox's historic mansions), mezzo-soprano Jennifer Berkebile unfurled a voluminous, opulent voice in a richly expressive performance of Respighi's gorgeous Il Tramonto (The Sunset), supported by a string quartet from the Berkshire Opera Orchestra. In the Berkshires, the sounds of summer are glorious indeed!

Copyright © 28 August 2006 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA




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