The Sarasota Orchestra’s Masterworks Series took us on a sonic tour of four scenic places: Cuba, Scotland, Czechoslovakia and Rome in “Seeing Music on Tour” this past weekend at the Van Wezel. In retrospect, it was also a dancing tour of foreign lands that had the audience tapping its toes as much as it does at a pops concert.
Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture,” written while the composer vacationed in Havana in 1932, is an American’s impression of that country, just as “An American in Paris” is his look at France. The rumba is the rhythmic impulse here, and the big orchestral sound was transmitted with joy and just enough abandon by conductor Leif Bjaland.
Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy” gave a solo turn to the able and musical concertmaster, Daniel Jordan. But the violinist had a couple of things conspiring against him, not the least of which was the Van Wezel, one of the worst places for a fiddler — or almost anyone else — to flex his musical muscles. The hall muffles and swallows live sounds, and because Jordan’s is somewhat small and contained, we couldn’t help wishing he were in a real concert hall — one meant for live music. But don’t get me started on that!
Bjaland chose four of Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances,” Opus 46, the most well known of the bunch (No. 5 through No. 8) being No. 8 in G minor, a furiant, which swirled like a dervish, with just the right touch of freshness and ebullience.
But the star of the afternoon was Respighi’s brilliantly orchestrated and masterfully performed “Pines of Rome.” The four movements were accompanied by some effective videos of children playing, ghostly catacombs, lovers on the Gianicolo and vibrant sun-dappled scenes along the Appian Way. Were the videos necessary? No. Did they enhance the already wonderful music and performance? Absolutely.
— June LeBell
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5 Fall Music Series
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
6 Fuzion Dance Artists Behind the Curtain with Larry Keigwin of Keigwin + Company
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
7 The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota & The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Present Public Art & Backstage Tours
10:00 am - 11:30 am
10 "Jazz at Two" with Eddie Tobin
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Golfer sees swinging success
Longboat Key resident Arlene McKitrick celebrated her 200th golf championship win this week at Sara Bay Country Club in an FSGA event.
Mote receives NOAA grant
Mote Marine Laboratory recently received a $99,615 grand for its dolphin and whale rehabilitation efforts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Correction: Heitlers to net 75 years in April
In its Sept. 18 issue, the Longboat Observer featured Plymouth Harbor resident George Heitler, a lifelong tennis player who has played tennis for most of his 99 years and is a regular at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center.