November 18, 2012

Concert Review: PSO program highly varied, well played

By CHRISTOPHER HYDE

Guest conductor Timothy Myers guided the Portland Symphony Orchestra through a highly varied, and exceptionally well played, program Sunday afternoon at Merrill Auditorium in Portland City Hall. It ranged through early and late Romantic through French impressionism to the beginning of the modern era, with Stravinsky's "Firebird" Suite in the expanded 1945 version.

CONCERT REVIEW

Portland Symphony Orchestra

WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, Portland City Hall

DATE REVIEWED: Nov. 18

Strangely enough, the least successful reading of the afternoon was the Overture  to "Euryanthe" by Carl Maria von Weber, which was by far the least difficult score. It seemed to lack focus and shrouded familiar melodies in over-attention to detail.

Maybe it was a sacrifice fly, because the following works on the program were home runs, beginning with a shimmering performance of Debussy's early "Printemps." It seems to show Debussy at the height of his powers while he was still a student in Rome, but a much later re-orchestration may have had something to do with that. The second half contains a jazzy piano part, echoed by the orchestra, which is hard to reconcile with the original date of 1897.

Whatever its origin, it gives Mahler's nature music, in the recently performed Symphony No. 3, some severe competition.

Christopher Hyde's Classical Beat column appears in the Maine Sunday Telegram. He can be reached at:

classbeat@netscape.net.

Look for the full review in the Portland Press Herald.

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