The Yale School of Music
(Yale School of Music Website)
Yale in New York
David Shifrin, Artistic Director
Concertante: 20th Century Music
For Chamber Orchestra and Soloists
Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale
Shinik Hahm, conductor
David Shifrin, clarinet
Frank Morelli, bassoon
Press: Aleba Gartner
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 28, 2011
Ernest Bloch: Concerto Grosso No. 1, 1925, Jian Liu, piano.
Richard Strauss: Duet-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon
with string orchestra and harp, 1947, David Shifrin, clarinet, Frank Morelli, bassoon.
Frank Martin: Ballade No. 2 for flute, string orchestra, piano, percussion, 1939, US premiere, Ransom Wilson, flute.
Alberto Ginastera: Variaciones concertantes, 1953.
Yale in New York brought its Philharmonia Orchestra, under the direction of David Shifrin, tonight’s clarinetist, to Zankel Hall, and it was quite a crowded concert. Bloch’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 fittingly opened the evening with powerful strings in this tribute to 20th Century music. Echoing refrains melted into waterfalls of piano passages, as Jian Liu brought his lively virtuosity to this work. Mournful melodies mixed with marching motifs, before a vivacious upbeat passage brought full support from the Orchestra with a sweeping folkloric theme.
The Strauss Duet-Concertino for clarinet and bassoon with string orchestra and harp opened with the “Allegro moderato”, led by clarinet and bassoon, in an almost jazz-like theme. A springtime melody warmed this cold evening in the “Andante”, followed by the “Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo”, with the strings like a sumptuous chorale. Frank Martin’s Ballade No. 2 for flute, string orchestra, piano, and percussion was composed in 1939, but premiered tonight in the US. The strings played with foreboding, yet subdued, “surround sound”, thanks to the superb acoustics in the contemporary construction of Zankel Hall. It was at this point that I noticed the youthful sophistication of this orchestra, as it performed with professionalism beyond its years. Ransom Wilson’s solo flute evoked music from Stravinsky’s “Firebird”, a gorgeous “undersong” to this Ballade.
Ginastera’s 1953 Variaciones concertantes has twelve brief variations, and at some point one merged into the next. A harp-cello duo in the introduction merged into an interlude of hushed ambient strings, followed by featured flute. Bustling urban music with spinning brass and percussion showcased a “downtown” styled clarinet passage. The viola solo, next, was followed by solos on bassoon and oboe, and the music took a dervish tempo. Trumpet and trombone leads, followed by violin and horn, were replete with deep elegant spirituality. The yearning passages of harp and double bass merged into the balletic finale, with strings in pronounced pulse. Repetitive chords featured the bass and kettle drums, and, in a blast, the stage was filled with driven orchestral dynamics. This concert was most uplifting toward the final month of a long winter. Kudos to Maestro Shinik Hahm for conducting this splendid performance. Maestro Hahm is chief conductor of the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra, as well as a professor at the Yale School of Music and conductor in residence of this Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale.