Sunday evening was the world premiere of Sound Investment composer Julia Adolphe’s “Shiver and Bloom,” a beautiful piece for twenty instruments including the harp. The opening violins, with intricate solos by the harp, flute and clarinet winding through them, delivered the “Shiver” quite well. The “Bloom,” on the other hand, wasn’t as heartfelt. The music was interesting and beautiful, but the seed of “Shiver” never quite blossomed into a “Bloom,” leaving behind something to be desired. Perhaps a second listen will garner a better understanding.
I was excited to hear the Mezzo-Soprano, Sasha Cooke. There is a certain richness to the tones of Mezzos that I particularly enjoy. She sang selections from Mahler, Mozart and Handel; I personally preferred the Mozart and the Handel. In the Mahler piece, Cooke’s powerful voice seem to exist on top of the musical accompaniment, which felt somewhat isolated, whereas there was more of a partnership when her voice interchanged with the accompaniment in the Mozart piece. In the work by Handel, Cooke’s emotional range was on full display. She has a truly beautiful voice, but what truly impressed me was her stage presence. T’was a wonderful presentation, by a masterful artist.
After intermission (or “halftime,” as my husband calls it) we were treated to Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, played by a very dapper Jon Kimura Parker. I like his style. I am a fan of piano concertos, so I enjoyed this very much. There were no revelations, but it was a fine presentation, executed beautifully by the Orchestra and the pianist. As always, Kahane provided his audience with a bit of explanatory context to his presentations, which I am certain I will dearly miss when he retires. Once again, the people who snuck out to beat the parking lot jam during the final applause missed dessert! There was a pleasant surprise saved for the encore, with Kahane and Parker playing the four-handed Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 6. They played it with humor, gusto and relaxed abandon, the perfect cherry on top of another great night of music by this wonderful Orchestra.