Works by Respighi -
'... impressively alive to each facet of Respighi's aural colourations ...'
The most salient feature of this Respighi concert is its abundance of potent musical enjoyment; melody, colour and inventive expression. All three scores appear to defy a half-hearted or disinterested response.
Even more, on the strength of Naxos' recording, the Buffalo orchestra, with European tours under its belt, though less than widely known beyond American shores, reveals itself as a gutsy, bounteous, brilliant, richly expressive and finely balanced ensemble.
Their performances are more than the equal of a stimulating Church Windows and Brazilian Impressions (also Roman Festivals) on Telarc (1994) with Respighi researcher Jesús López-Cobos and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
The fact is, Buffalo Philharmonic's music director, JoAnn Falletta, stands tall among the growing ranks of masterly women conductors; among their numbers -- Marin Alsop, Sonia Marie De Leon de Vega, Anne Manson, Odaline de la Martinez, Sian Edwards and Jane Glover.
To do her justice would require a lengthier curriculum vitae than space here allows but it's worth noting that away from the podium JoAnn is a fine performing guitarist and respected poet.
Recently the Virginia Arts Festival released Borrowed Treasures, Ms Falletta's third disc performing chamber music for guitar.
In addition the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition has brought an enlarged measure of acclaim and attention to classical guitar along the fringes of the Eastern Seaboard. In 2006, she was inducted into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame, and received the Human Relations Award from the Buffalo/Niagra Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.
Beyond her Buffalo Philharmonic recordings, other CDs have involved the London Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Prague Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia and the Women's Philharmonic.
Copyright © 20 May 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand