The evening opened with Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir d’un lieu cher” with special guest violinist Simone Porter performing. Audience member Dan Rich, conductor of the Utah Youth Junior Symphony Orchestra, described Simone’s performance as having “amazing tone, beautiful phrasing. She was really into the music. Very rhythmic on the second movement, most beautiful melodies in the third movement.” Most symphonies follow the four movement pattern Rich referred to. Another audience member, Jesse Toftum a current University of Utah student, had similar praise stating “she performed it incredibly well.”
Edgard Varese “Ameriques” followed with powerful emotions emanating from the stage. Audience member Anthony Jensen, who studied composition at Snow College and is auditioning for the Master in Music: Composition program at the U next year. He described Varese as “non-standard music at its finest. He is pushing so many boundaries and using more experimental ideas to get points across.” The Utah Symphony held true to this as a siren sound rang throughout, the program clarified it was actually a siren, which Varese intended. The delight on Toftum and Jensen’s faces following the selection showed that, in their eyes, the Utah Symphony had done “Ameriques” justice.
After intermission Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” began. The sounds that turned the first audience to hear this work into a violent mob in 1913 radiated from the stage and captured all of us. A year after the score’s premiere Stravinsky received great admiration and has continued to be adored for this music. This is especially true when in 1940 Walt Disney used the score in Fantasia. The Utah Symphony did a beautiful job performing “The Rite of Spring” thanks to the help of Conductor Thierry Fischer.
Fischer was a flawless maestro during all three pieces. His eloquence in conducting the movements of the music amplified Tchaikovsky, Varese and Stravinsky. At the close of the evening, Fischer came out for his final bow and received a standing ovation. His expression was bright and contagious displaying his love for the music.
The Utah Symphony Masterworks 2017-18 season is just around the corner. Beginning the season will be Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. More details about this and other upcoming performances can be found on www.utahsymphony.org