An Australian Brings Polish and Emotional Heft—Plus an Arnold Rarity

17/11/2016

Gluck, Mozart, Respighi, Arnold: Ricardo Morales (clarinet), Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia / Kynan Johns (conductor), Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, 7.11.2016. (BJ)

Gluck – Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Orfeo ed Euridice
Mozart – Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622
Respighi – Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No.3
Arnold – Symphony for Strings, Op.13

Another wide-ranging Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia program brought performances of considerable polish and emotional heft under the direction of Australian Kynan Johns (age undivulged in what passes for his web biography). What was especially impressive was the richly colored and vibrant tone he drew from the orchestra’s strings, who played at their absolute best.

The richness of tone by no means resulted in an unstylish rendering of Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits, which, in common with much of the rest of the program, benefitted from a dynamic range featuring pianissimos that kept the listener’s attention irresistibly concentrated. In the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Ricardo Morales and the conductor offered a strongly integrated conception, and here again the middle section of the slow movement achieved an intense quietude that was deeply moving.

The second half of the concert offered two works of sharply contrasted character. Respighi is a sadly underrated composer, a master both of the blockbuster style—in the three grandiose Roman symphonic poems—and of more intimate expression, as in some charming vocal and chamber music and his three sets of arrangements of Renaissance dances. It was a pleasure to hear this neatly turned performance of the third of those suites, and it served as an excellent foil to the work that ended the evening.

Malcolm Arnold’s reputation rests largely on his theater and film music, and, in the concert hall, on works that tend toward the lighter dance-infused modes of expression, but his Symphony for Strings breathes an altogether darker atmosphere, and marshals its inward-turned inspirations with impressive and altogether characteristic skill. Among the many composers who deserve to be better known than they are, Arnold stands high, and Johns and the Chamber Orchestra served his cause with aplomb.

Bernard Jacobson

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! This Year’s International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival at Buxton and Harrogate __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River 2019 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Memories of West End Musical delights __________________________________
  • NEW! CELLIST JOHANNES MOSER IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • NEW! MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month