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Violin soloist, conductor pair elegance, flamboyance

02.08.09
Giancarlo Guerrero, Cho-Liang Lin
The Denver Post

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a mere teenager in 1775 when he composed his Violin Concerto No. 4 - a technically intricate and musically brilliant work.

With soloist Cho-Liang Lin and guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero on the podium, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra provided a sensitive, stimulating accompaniment to the concerto. Surprisingly, the unisons and octaves between the solo and orchestra parts resounded beautifully throughout the acoustically dull Boettcher Concert Hall, and Lin's luminous rendering of the Andante cantabile slow movement was graceful, elegant and entirely engaging.

The Taiwanese-American violinist progressed effortlessly through the lighthearted Andante grazioso finale, with Guerrero closely minding its energizing modulations in meter and tempo. The rolling and often mercurial conclusion brought the audience to its feet - but while Lin's dependable, refined musicality is always enriching, it was Guerrero who claimed the highest marks for Friday night's artistic success.

The Costa Rican maestro is all fire and flamboyance; there's nothing understated about his impassioned style. A tall, formidable presence, he jumped, danced and amusingly cowered his way through Gioachino Rossini's overture to "The Barber of Seville" and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.

Guerrero maintained restraint in tempo but simultaneously inspired unfettered, vigorous playing from the CSO throughout the swashbuckling, high-spirited overture. And in Tchaikovsky's titanic, often thunderous symphony, Guerrero proved himself a keen interpreter of the work's insistent, impactful first movement.

The pensive second movement and whirling, celebratory pizzicato scherzo presented a canvas on which Guerrero boldly painted his vivid exclamations of quiet elation and overt joy, leading up to the symphony's effective zenith in the defiant, victorious finale.

The evening also featured radiant solo passages performed by oboist Peter Cooper and bassoonist Chad Cognata.