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NSO's Volcanic Tüür

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Read my review published today in the Washington Post:

Charles T. Downey, The NSO erupts with an enjoyable showing of Estonian talent
Washington Post, June 11, 2010

available at Amazon
Tüür, Symphony No. 4 ("Magma"),
E. Glennie, Estonian NSO, P. Järvi
The National Symphony Orchestra has two more serious programs this month before surrendering completely to the pops concerts of summer. On one of those programs Thursday night, Estonian talent was on full display. Guest conductor Kristjan Järvi led a concert anchored on the complex fourth symphony of Erkki-Sven Tüür, who also hails from Järvi's native Estonia.

The work, completed in 2002, began as a concerto commission for Scottish percussion virtuosa Evelyn Glennie but evolved into a one-movement symphonic work with solo percussionist. Glennie, who has been profoundly deaf since age 12, performs in these concerts at the Kennedy Center as part of the 2010 International VSA Festival, sponsored by the International Organization on Arts and Disability.

The opening theme evoked the symphony's subtitle, "Magma," as glissandi spewed through the orchestra over an eructating pedal tone in the contrabassoon. Glowing clusters formed in smears, with embers floating in high woodwind short notes and metallic percussion sparks. Glennie moved from one set of instruments to the next spread out like an irresistible candy store of whiz-pops, doodads and noisemakers on the apron of the stage, marked off by three large musical sections. Her gyrations at a large drum kit in the second section recalled Tüür's youthful participation in the progressive "chamber rock" band In Spe, complete with a Buddy Rich-style apoplectic solo as a cadenza. [Continue reading]
National Symphony Orchestra
With Kristjan Järvi (conductor) and Evelyn Glennie (percussion)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Grieg, Lyric Suite
Erkki-Sven Tüür, Symphony No. 4 ("Magma")
Bernstein, Candide (Overture and Suite)
Ellington, Harlem (orch. by Luther Henderson)


Andrew Lindemann Malone, From the Core of the Earth (DMV Classical, June 12)

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