ASO: Robert Spano with Jonathan Biss

I had high hopes for tonight’s ASO concert but, sadly, I was let down. I really like Higdon’s Concerto for Orchestra. It has some good power and lots of exciting bits but doesn’t neglect pure beauty. It’s a great piece to show off the sections of the orchestra as well as the principals. There are a lot of really good musicians in the ASO and they have done a really great recording of it but, sadly, I don’t think that, taken as a whole, they met the challenges of the piece this evening. The principals were mostly great, though I think that I’ve found that I don’t like the sound of the new principal double bassist’s instrument. I think that the sound that I didn’t like last weekend was coming from it, though it wasn’t as bad tonight. During his solos, it had a bright and disorganized sound to it and I found that I could pick his sound out when he was playing in ensemble both during the Higdon and the Beethoven, which I couldn’t do with any of the other bassists. It was one of two things that I had a hard time believing that I was hearing this evening and it made me feel a little like I might be crazy or something and I’m wondering if I would be able to hear the detail that bugs me if I were sitting further away. Also, one of the percussionists didn’t quite match the quality of the others tonight, which really threw huge sections of the piece for me.
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