OKC Philharmonic concert clever performance full of 'jokes, whimsy and wit'

Asia's Tech News Daily

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic, led by Alexander Mickelthwate, recently offered a Saturday evening program titled “Harmony, Humor, and Hubris,” a diverse selection of light, fun, works featuring musical jokes, whimsy, and wit.

After a charming percussion ensemble arrangement of the “Star Spangled Banner,” the concert opened with John Corigliano’s 1981 “Prominade Overture,” which begins with only the percussion section on stage. One by one, soloists and sections marched or strolled to their seats while playing, starting with a dazzling piccolo solo (performed beautifully by Nancy Ortega) and concluding with the tuba, who only barely makes it to his seat before the piece comes to a comedic end.

Corigliano’s symphonic work often includes elements of the theatrical, but never feels gimmicky. This work is no exception; he masterfully uses the staging to build interesting and transparent layers of sound.

Guest piano soloists Sergio Monteiro and Igor Lipinski then joined the orchestra in Camille Saint-Seans’ beloved, whimsical suite “Carnival of the Animals.” The duo performed exceedingly well together and exuded a playful charm, especially the movement depicting two students practicing Hanon scale exercises.

Other notable instrumental solos include cellist Jonathan Ruck’s elegant performance of “The Swan,” and Valerie Watts’ feather-light, fluttering “Volière.”

Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 “Farewell” brought the hubris promised in the program’s title: originating as a clever request to Prince Nikolaus Esterházy for a long-overdue break for his musicians, the finale features the slowly dwindling orchestra exiting the stage one at a time — a well-devised bookend to the Corigliano.

The concert then concluded with a rousing orchestral encore by Aram Khachaturian.

The Phil returns to the Civic Center Stage at 8 p.m. Nov. 20, featuring Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 9,” and guest artist, violinist Stefan Jackiw.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OKC Philharmonic concert clever performance full of ‘jokes, whimsy and wit’

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