Recent News
Colin Currie
A striking performance from percussionist Colin Currie
Boston Globe
Colin Currie
Colin Currie brings probing mind and energetic technique to Pickman Hall
Boston Classical Review
Shai Wosner
Beethoven: Complete Cello Sonatas and Variations CD review – here's how to make Beethoven's huge structures work
The Guardian
Johannes Debus, Patricia Racette
A riveting Racette ignites in Met’s “Salome”
New York Classical Review
Wynton Marsalis, James Conlon, Giancarlo Guerrero, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Eric Jacobsen, Mariss Jansons, Ludovic Morlot, David Robertson, Gene Scheer, Gil Shaham, Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Mason Bates, Silk Road Ensemble , Nashville Symphony , St. Louis Symphony Orchestra , The Knights , Patti LuPone, Georgia Jarman, Ian Bostridge, Nathan Gunn, Thomas Hampson, Lucas Meachem, Luca Pisaroni
2017 Grammy Nominees
Grammy Awards
JoAnn Falletta
How the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Hit Its Stride
New York State of Opportunity
Colin Currie
Colin Currie provides the highlight in New World’s program of contemporary German music
South Florida Classical Review
Review: VOCES8's "Winter"
Shai Wosner
Review: Shai Wosner's Haydn/Ligeti
The TEN Tenors
The TEN Tenors Launch Holiday Tour, Support St Jude Children’s Hospital

News archive »

With joyful sounds, DSO celebrates new season

Gil Shaham
Detroit News

On a date that still clenches the heart, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra opened its season Thursday night with a program that embraced life and the joy that music can bring to it.

In comments from the stage at Orchestra Hall, both guest conductor Peter Oundjian and DSO president and executive director Anne Parsons acknowledged the solemnity inspired by remembrance of 9/11, and both also essentially made the same point that life is a treasure to be celebrated.

To be sure, the evening's fare was music of jubilee, starting with an exuberant turn through Wagner's vivacious Prelude to Act III of "Lohengrin." Also in that celebratory spirit was Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio espagnol," a virtuoso spectacle that found Oundjian pulling out all the stops and the DSO's new principal flutist, Sharon Sparrow, making a strong impression with her first solos.

Yet, brilliantly as the DSO played the "Capriccio," I can't help wondering aloud why Oundjian decided to recycle the piece when pianist Lang Lang comes to Orchestra Hall for a single performance Sunday afternoon. Assuming many of the same music lovers who hear the DSO's opening subscription series, Thursday through Saturday, will return for Lang Lang, it seems unimaginative at best simply to repeat that 15-minute work.

It's certainly just as well the "Rosenkavlier" Suite will not be repeated when Lang Lang plays Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 on Sunday. While Oundjian and company caught the lush textures of the music, Strauss' subtle textures and internal rhythmic inflections were generally lost in a lot of broad-brush painting.

This is music of the opera house, born with the breath of song. But more than that, "Rosenkavalier" represents Strauss at the summit of his powers as a portraitist in tone colors, a painter whose blurred lines and melding figures capture the ambiguities of human nature. Amid the DSO's luxurious sound, the humanity of Strauss' music seemed to recede.

More assured and rewarding was the collective effort in Brahms' Violin Concerto, which drew elegant, concentrated playing from soloist Gil Shaham. This was not heated, rhapsodic Brahms but songful and expansive, especially in Saham's caressing treatment of the slow movement.

Yet the violinist also indulged in some bizarre histrionics. He constantly turned away from the audience, making little bunny hops toward the conductor's podium or leaning into the first circle of strings as if in private communion.

The ear and the eye were having two different experiences. And the ear was a good deal happier.