Read my review published today in the Style section of the Washington Post:
Charles T. Downey, National Gallery of Art Orchestra delivers rousing muscial end to Norway festival
Washington Post, January 11, 2010
The National Gallery of Art Orchestra offered a rousing conclusion to the Norway Comes to Washington festival at the museum's annual New Year concert on Sunday evening. Norwegian conductor Bjarte Engeset combined some of the traditional music for such concerts, such as the overture to Strauss's "Die Fledermaus," with less expected pieces by Norwegian composers, from Johan Halvorsen's "Scenes from Norwegian Fairy Tales" to Grieg favorites.
Grieg, Peer Gynt Suites / Six Orchestral Songs, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, B. Engeset
Even with the back-desk violins, the double basses, and the percussion tucked behind and around various columns, the orchestra made the best of the echo-heavy stone acoustic of the West Garden Court. Hearing the encores from the back corner of the space, where there were plenty of empty seats, confirmed that the ensemble sounded crisp and unified even there, although at full-bore the brass and percussion overpowered everything else. This overblown quality was an asset in the pairing of marches by John Philip Sousa and Johannes Hanssen, a former director of the Oslo Military Band who is more or less the American March King's Norwegian counterpart. [Continue reading]
With Bjarte Engeset (guest conductor) and Jessica Jones (soprano)
National Gallery of Art