Reviews ...

Symphony ends season with a flourish

... a night of color, variety and drama

by Jackie Wattenberg

Conductor Yoichi Udagawa ended another full-house-every-time
season with a bit of terrific drama- "The Composer is Dead,"
narrated colorfully by popular Boston radio personality Jordan Rich.

This was a surprise offering in the season's final concert and a charmer
from Mr. Rich's easeful, amusing and colorful relating the mystery of
which the symphony musicians did in the great composer?

Of course there was music first, and afterward, including a sharply
defined rendition of Stravinsky's "Berceuse and Finale," reminding
us how his music that once compelled audiences to charge out of the
hall is now welcomed for its daring and color.

Maestro Udagawa began the program with a resounding presentation of
Berlioz's "Roman Carnival" with a long, long, warmly intoned oboe
solo by Carl Schlaikjer. Then Yoichi handed his baton to young
assistant conductor Kadar Qian who gave us a very lively "Hoedown"
by Aaron Copeland and a vivace reading of Leroy Anderson's "Jazz

Jordan Rich came on stage with several hats and a white wig to take
off and on as the mystery of "The Composer is Dead" began. As each
section of the orchestra was suspected of the composer's murder,
that section responded with its strength and defiance - were the
strings especially suspicious? Did the woodwinds appear more innocent
than they actually were? Each section was possibly guilty, and each
section performed bravely and as if innocent.

But Mr. Rich was defiant - he left no section uncharged and questioned
the innocence of the concertmaster himself - Alan Hawryluk stood up
with excessive pride that exuded guilt! Well, the charges and musical
protest were puzzling - where was the actual guilt?

In the end, musicians in each section could relax in innocence - the
composer was himself the culprit in this murder mystery - he was

This fresh and exciting work by Lemony Snicket and Nathaniel Stookey
was available in its handsome boxed form at intermission time after
the performance. If you missed this sensational performance by Mr.
Rich, be sure to catch it on local TV.

The drama seems to have energized the orchestra with final works
by Morton Gould, Sousa and John Williams full of energy. A night
of color, variety and drama - and instead of snow, a row of tulips
before Memorial Hall.

Reprinted with permission from the Melrose Free Press May 09,2014..

June 6, 2014

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