‘Shining Stars’ Highlight Philharmonic Concert
star” was Joseph Schwantner, the American composer of the first work, Chasing
Light. This four-movement work reflects Schwantner's New Hampshire home—specifically the
experience of dawn. It begins with a highly dramatic, tam-tam-punctuated first
movement, a Coplandesque second, an engrossing third (with climaxes brought on
by stalking tympani) and an appropriately powerful finale. Conductor Alexander
Platt led a performance that was good enough to have been a professional
movements ensued thereafter: young Allison Rich gave a very solid reading of
the finale to Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, and Seth King-Gengler
rendered a strong, passionate performance of the finale to Beethoven's Piano
Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37.
The culminating work on the program was Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, which, though not without moments of brilliance, was on the whole uneven and unsatisfying. Perhaps this was due to the fact that the Wisconsin Philharmonic was augmented by several teenage instrumentalists? (This was, after all, the first attempt at a blended orchestra). But I'd like to see this tried again with, I'd suggest, a less ambitious work.