Another Milwaukee-to-Madison Connection: Less Resonant, but Highly Polished
Post by brewcity101 on 11/23/2010 9:40pm
The piece below was written by Greg Hettmansberger and was posted by our affiliate www.dane101.com.
When I saw that the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was coming to Madison this fall, and that they were playing Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra” — the same work that closed Madison Symphony’s first concert in October, I was immediately intrigued. I was also curious what a full symphony orchestra would sound (and look) like at the Union Theater. It turned out that the two circumstances were linked.
The Bartok was the entire second half (as the 45-minute work should be), and it was at the very end of the first movement where the great climactic punctuated chord told you everything you needed to know about the Union Theater acoustic: what little resonance there was died within a couple of seconds. But the overall effect on the orchestra should not be overstated: throughout the evening the collective strings of the MSO revealed layers of rich sound, particularly in the cellos and basses, the woodwind solos were always clear and sweet, and the brass (at least in the biggest moments in the Bartok) had no trouble dominating within the proper overall balance.
The concert began with the once-ubiquitous Suite No. 1 from “Peer Gynt” by Grieg. The “Morning” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King” have become so clichéd over the years in commercials, films, etc., that I was surprised to realize I couldn’t recall the last time I heard it live from a major orchestra. Music Director Edo de Waart, whose storied career now finds him in his second year at the MSO helm when he isn’t tending to his duties with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, did the audience a delightful favor in sharing the familiar but still beguiling tunes and harmonies of Grieg’s signature piece.