Peabody Symphony showcases Marina Piccinini, Kevin Puts
I checked out the Peabody Symphony Orchestra concert Tuesday night to hear the artistry of two faculty members -- flutist Marina Piccinini and composer Kevin Puts.
I didn't have the energy to hang on for the rest of the program, devoted to selections from Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, but I imagine that portion found the talents of Peabody's director of orchestral activities, Hajime Teri Murai, and the students in the ensemble on impressive display.
The orchestra certainly had much to offer at the start of the evening in "Hymn to the Sun," a 2008 work by Puts that reveals, above all, his sterling command of instrumental coloring and knack for creating rhythmic energy.
Inspired by images of ancient Egyptians in a sacred dance to coax the sun's arrival, the music is filled with brilliant sonic bursts. Some of the melodic and harmonic action has the familiar ring of
an epic Hollywood film score (not that there's anything wrong with that), and the pounding coda veers ever so close to the cheesy, but who cares?
"Hymn to the Sun" is an awful lot of fun and it received a decidedly energetic, mostly solid performance.
Piccinini was showcased in Ibert's sparkly Flute Concerto. It has its fluffy side (not that there's anything wrong with that, either), but the work packs in considerable melodic vitality.
The soloist went far beyond the notes, which she articulated with remarkable technical purity, and created a wealth of tonal and dynamic nuances that enlivened every phrase. A very classy demonstration of musicality.
Murai kept the orchestral side of things perking along nicely and, a few cloudy spots aside, the orchestra responded with cohesion and sensitivity.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PEABODY INSTITUTE