Monday, December 15, 2008


I wondered last week if my list of the ten best performances I've seen would need some adjusting after this past weekend. It does.

I actually took in three concerts (an offer to see this group came up at the last minute), and though all three had strong points, I was most consistently thrilled and excited by Jason Moran's performance at the Art Museum. His commissioned piece, inspired by the Gee's Bend quilt exhibit and a visit to the Alabama town where the quilts were constructed, was a dizzyingly eclectic display, and the crowd, mostly gathered on the steps in the Museum's Great Hall, was enthralled throughout. So Moran, his backing group the Bandwagon, guitarist Bill Frisell, and soprano Alicia Hall take the Number 10 spot on my list (it's based on chronology, not quality). A formal review of the concert is forthcoming.

Kudoes also to Symphony in C, the training orchestra based in Camden. Their version of Sibelius' Fifth Symphony was very, very fine indeed: an honorable mention, if I were to tack one onto my list. In both the Sibelius and the Grieg piano concerto, the Symphony had some of the best pianissimos I'd heard in quite a while -- a good sign for this young group and for the big-name orchestras who will one day inherit some of its players.

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