DSO proves that wine is not the only thing that gets better with age

By Phyllis
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra continued its 2009-10 series concerts Sept. 25 at The Max M. Fisher Music Center.

        Globally recognized and highly praised, the DSO … the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States … “uncorked” a powerful opener: Alla  Borzova’s “To the New World” proved that it is not just wine that ages well.

        Known for pioneering performances, imaginative maestros and partnerships with the world’s chief musical artist, the DSO under the masterful hand of Leonard Slatkin, welcomed featured artist, guitarist Sharon Isbin. Celebrated for her exceptional lyricism, method and adaptability, the Grammy Award winner played Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un gentilhombre” (Fantasia for a Nobleman).

        The night’s performance closed with a “classic,” Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27.” 

        Slatkin, unencumbered by the long line of late comers, began exactly on time, 8 p.m. sharp.  With a smile and a nod, Slatkin turned and the opened with Borzova’s “To the New World.” Borzova wrote, “I have created a story about an imaginary ship that that brings to the shores of the USA immigrants of various origins.”

        The work presented melodic waves of ethnic music, which came together along the third section followed by a jazz episode. The jazz represented the sounds from the American shores, which beckoned the immigrants to the land of opportunity.  Followed by an infusion of octaves and double octaves that came to end and closed with bell rhythm, the unique Barzova work was bold and engaging.

        Isbin’s entrance generated a great deal of enthusiasm from fans. Clearly well received, the guitar diva managed Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un gentilhombre” with ease. Likable and memorable, Isbin— sandwiched between two very different kinds of experiences — held her own.

        Rachmaninoff’s” Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27” brought the evening to a close.  The DSO delivered this classic in style, with flawless execution and breathless timing.

        The DSO classic series continues with “Oundjian & Mahler” Oct. 16 and 18 at Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. Performances are 8 p.m. Oct. 16 and 3 p.m. Oct.18. Tickets range from $19 to $71 with box seats $121 and $123.

        Conductor Peter Oundian will lead the DSO in selections by Beethoven (“Fidelio Orverture”), Wagner (“Tristan & Isolde: Prelude & Liebestod”) and Mahler (“Symphony No. 7”).

        Tickets may be purchased at the box office, by calling (313) 576-5111, or online at www.detroitsymphony.com. Seniors (60 and up) and students with valid identification can purchase 50 percent off tickets at the box office 90 minutes prior to the concert based on availability.