Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wiprud's Katrina

The boys and I took in dinner and the symphony this evening, witnessing the world premier of Theodore Wiprud's newest violin concerto, Katrina. I must say that I was impressed, especially since I'm not generally a fan of postmodern classical music.
In the first movement (Les Bons Temps), the imagery - of a city inundated by water - is palpable. The bluesy strains of the violin are overwhelmed by thunder.
The second movement (Acadiana) was, in a word, haunted. Whistling to yourself in the dark. A ghost of a melody.
The third movement (Fly Away), however, was the only portion of the piece which left something to be desired. A melody tried to build, but was ultimately unsuccessful. The concerto ends on the upward swing of a phrase, but without flourish. Weakly.
The audience response was lukewarm.

To be fair, a brand-new piece is a difficult sell in between Copland's Rodeo ballet and Dvorak's New World Symphony, but all in all the program (quite Americana) was sound.

But perhaps the ending is appropriate. Where have we gone since Katrina? What has become of New Orleans? While the city struggles to recover, still, from a devastating blow, what can they do but end on the highest note they can manage?

Incidentally, I was reminded of how much I enjoy the first movement of From the New World. We have so much spirit in this place... I can only hope we never truly lose it.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review!

    The opening movement of the New World Symphony was one of the first pieces that really captured and lured me into the Western Classical Tradition.

    And of course as a cellist, Dvorak is the man.

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  2. And Copland.....whew. Unreal. The last movement of the 3rd Symphony...Appalachian Spring.....nothing better.

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  3. Dvorak is the man. And as a percussionist myself, of course I love Copland.
    The Wiprud piece is growing on me... the first two movements were quite visceral and emotional, but the final movement seemed a bit more intellectual. Perhaps that's what bothered me at first, the disjointed nature of it. But when you consider the subject matter, it all makes sense.

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