Thursday, January 05, 2023


Thursday and Friday, Jan 5 and 6, 2023 the Minnesota Orchestra, in a (Thur) cold windy concert hall presented an interesting and well-designed program of live music. A live program on a sunny but snow-filled day has been and will be an excellent attention-getting relief from winter blues.

Under the fine competent leadership of guest conductor, Ryan Bancroft from Los Angeles, the Orchestra delivered an excellent varied morning concert of three pieces which will be repeated on Friday evening.

The opening piece is not unusual music. It is a ten-minute soliloquy. “Solemn Prelude” by a Black composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The path of the Opus is as interesting as the music, having been premiered At a British festival in `1899 and then not again p 2021 performed until 2021.

The piece sets up audience anticipation of the fiery pianist, Kirill Gerstein, whose intense interpretations skill and expertise were amply demonstrated in “Concerto in D minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff. A brilliant Allegro and the fiery finale Alla breve showcased the brilliance of the soloist as well as the creativity of the composer.

The final piece of this concert, much appreciated by the morning audience, is Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures At An Exhibition.” Here is a piece of music, created as a piano solo in 1874, that is one of the most popular classical music  compositions ever created. It has been performed and recorded in more than 500 versions by almost every conceivable sort of musical aggregation.

This presentation displays the Minnesota Orchestra at it finest in technical, emotional and interpretative states. Orchestral versions of “Pictures” require a wide range of precise and excellent musical technique. So presented this orchestra. The emotional range of the composition is marvelously enhanced by the skillful interpretation and execution of this orchestra.

From stirring horns to the fulsome and soaring sounds of the strings the coordination and discipline of the members can only be celebrated and applauded. The chosen orchestration allows full demonstration of the expertise, discipline and coordination of the orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra demonstrates conclusively they are up to this or any challenge.

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