In reviewing concerts in Philly, I'm often in the position of seeing a show on Friday night and writing the article the next day. Whether the review is intended for almost-instant publication online or for print on Monday, I regularly have to avert my eyes from other coverage of the same event in the Inquirer. Though I value the thoughts and opinions of that paper's writers, I hate to feel as though I might be swayed by their arguments before making my own.
What a delight, then, to review a concert that had already been presented in New York and not to have a review of that performance hanging over my head. Steve Smith's account ran in the Times today.
We grouped the five pieces slightly differently, and though our opinions differ on Fred Ho's "When the Real Dragons Fly!" (I found it sort of crass, though Fred himself is as relaxed and friendly offstage as he was furiously possessed on it), we both found a lot to like about our respective concerts. Hats off to Jeffrey Milarsky, who led the ACO both at Zankel Hall in NYC and here in Philly. I don't think I gave him sufficient praise in my article, but he tackled all five works with poise and gusto.