NEW WORLD SYMPHONY
STRAVINSKY/ DVORAK PROGRAM
SCOTT YOO (9-16-06)
NEW WORLD SOARS UNDER BOSTON MAESTRO’S BATON

By Lawrence Budmen

Quiet strings arch ever higher envisioning another worldly realm. Conductor Scott Yoo turned that magical conclusion of Igor Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagete to incandescence on Saturday at the Lincoln Theater. While Stravinsky’s 1927 ballet Apollo has long been part of Miami City Ballet’s repertoire, Yoo unveiled new sonic overtones and inner voicings in his subtly calibrated performance with the strings of the New World Symphony. 

While Stravinsky wrote Apollon Musagete at the height of his neo-classical period, the ghost of Tchaikovsky hovers over the music. Even the stately Apollo theme is a 20th century mirror image of the opening of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. Mozartean counterpoint and the majestic grandeur of Gluck are skillfully deconstructed in Stravinsky’s modernist view of antiquity. 

Yoo brought X-ray clarity to the strands of Stravinsky’s astringent instrumental fabric. Marc Rovetti essayed the violin solos with élan and dazzling technique to burn. With twenty new players in their midst (including three recent Tanglewood Music Center fellows), the ace New World strings have rarely sounded so lithe, precise, and transparent. 

Yoo, music director of Boston’s Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra and the San Luis Obispo Mozart festival, is an old school, straight forward exponent of the chamber orchestra repertoire. Not for him, the vibratoless, rhythmically unyielding manipulations of the early music movement. In Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings, Op.22 he drew the type of voluminous, richly textured string sound that Eugene Ormandy and Boyd Neel once espoused. 

Dvorak’s early work is an endless profusion of inspired Bohemian melodies crafted with rigorous technical acumen worthy of Mozart. Yoo’s leisurely tempo in the opening Moderato movement luxuriated in the music’s Brahmsian aura. His treatment of the Tempo di valse was svelte and unsentimental. The shimmering, airborne articulation of the strings in the Scherzo evoked the Mendelssohnian realm of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

In the evocative operatic romance of the Larghetto, Yoo eschewed overly bright modern string sound for the type of unabashedly Vienesse slides and portamentos that Fritz Kreisler would have recognized. The players’ breezy lightness of touch in the vivacious finale was a vivid demonstration of the superb standard of Miami’s unique orchestral academy.

Copyright Miami Herald


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