ASO: Robert Spano with Jorge Federico Osorio

The first piece on the program was Krists Auznieks’ Crossing. Aside from a few pieces that I found online when I looked him up earlier this week, I don’t believe that I’d ever heard anything by him so I really didn’t know what to expect. It turns out that I was absolutely delighted by this piece. It started kind of like an overture to some pastorale and I got an image in my head of a protagonist going out onto a meadow to do a Maria-Hills-Are-Alive thing but then tripping and falling. They get back up and try again only to run into a cliff face. So they turn another direction and find that they’re wandering out of the meadow and onto rocky, unpleasant terrain. Through obstacle after obstacle the protagonist tries to stay positive and to do their little turn in the meadow but a sinister undertone grows underneath their theme and things keep going in a different direction. Eventually the protagonist hits their breaking point and has a “What new hell is this?!” moment where they can no longer maintain a positive outlook. By the end they are defeated, reliving a dark, warped vision of the whole thing in their broken mind. It was such an evocative piece that I found myself smiling and suppressing chuckles in the early parts of the piece and by the end I was really concerned for my imaginary protagonist whom Auznieks was leading into such a miserable place.
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ASO: Robert Spano with a Pre-Concert Chamber Recital

Tonight’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert was one with a pre-concert chamber recital. I barely made it in time for it, so this was the first time that I didn’t get to sit on stage with the musicians. Instead, I was in my assigned seat, though I didn’t realize it at the time; it just seemed like a good position so I sat there. The acoustics weren’t horrible for the most part: there was really only one piece that suffered a little because of it.
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Kinnara: The Little Match Girl Passion

A Beautiful and Moving Piece of Music:
Yet another review in the form of a hastily and poorly written sonnet
By Robbie

A brief but rich evening I saw unfurl
With work by the composer David Lang
The story of the little matchstick girl
Within Mint Gallery, Kinnara sang
Delivering such beauty in large dose
For any hungry soul, no better food
Bass and tenor by Berlanga and Klose
The high notes sung by Yang Temko and Rood
From Herron’s hands, accompaniment sounds
Percussion simple and so sweetly played
The music echoed through the space around
The story of the girl was thus conveyed
Escape from suffering through flames divine
Told through sounds both beautiful and sublime

ASO: Robert Spano with a Battalion of Guests

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra crammed a lot of people onto their stage for last night’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony no. 8 under the baton of Robert Spano. They had to angle the sides of the acoustic shell so they sloped outward downstage to fit everyone in. The ASO Chorus mixed with the Morehouse College Glee Club were in the regular chorus seats up-stage. Just below them were the Gwinnett Young Singers flanked on either side by some of the women of the ASOC and the Spelman College Glee Club. The rest of the women were on risers flanking the stage, with their backs to the walls of the acoustic shell, facing inward and slightly downstage. The on-stage soloists occupied the sliver of space left downstage of the orchestra musicians. The lineup included sopranos Evelina Dobračeva and Erin Wall, mezzo-sopranos Michelle DeYoung and Kelly O’Connor, tenor Toby Spence, Baritone Russel Braun, and bass Morris Robinson. Mater Gloriosa was sung by Nicole Cabell from the stairs of the left mezzanine loge and some brass played from the feet of both loges in the mezzanine to surround us with sound during certain dramatic scenes in the Goethe section.
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ASO: Donald Runnicles with James Ehnes

Last night’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert wasn’t for me. It featured two pieces that I wasn’t that interested in hearing. The first was Shostakovich’s 15th Symphony, which received a lengthy, though interesting, introduction by Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. I really appreciate the effort he goes through to help audiences engage with the works he’s playing. It didn’t help me with this symphony, though. I’ve always felt that it was a a bit of an incomplete patchwork of a piece full of quotations that sound like they want to tell a story but don’t quite know what to say. I also think that the orchestration could be a bit more interesting in one direction or another. Last night’s performance made me feel like more attention was paid to certain parts than others, though I’m not entirely sure if it would be the fault of the composition or the performance. One bright spot were the soloists: most of them were excellent and truly a joy to hear.
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Alvin Ailey II

I was a little bit worried going into the Ailey II performance at the Rialto last night because I’ve been a bit depressed lately and I wasn’t sure that dance would breach the haze to give me a glimpse of something more joyful or meaningful than my dark musings had allowed of late. It didn’t help that I still have my notes from last year’s performance that I never managed to flesh out into a full post. Reviewing them before the show, I realized just how unmemorable it was. Looking over my descriptions of the pieces brought nothing to mind but that I felt that they weren’t really for me. This year, though, I felt like they really delivered.
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Horizon Theatre: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I had a rather curious experience when I went to see Horizon Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time that lead to me leaving during intermission. I was very much enjoying both the story and the performance – Brandon Michael Mayes is pretty amazing as protagonist Christopher – but there were a handful of audience members whom I just couldn’t tune out. It wasn’t anything explicit, but a snicker here and a whispered comment there made me uncomfortable with how they were viewing the show. It made everything feel so voyeuristic and exploitative, as though the protagonist’s disabilities were purely a novelty paraded out for us to enjoy like a classic circus freak show.
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