SYMPHONY OF THE AMERICAS
JAMES BROOKS-BRUZZESE/ CHIN KIM
GERSHWIN/ MENDELSSOHN/ SCHUBERT


By Lawrence Budmen

Franz Schubert’s Symphony No.6 may be the least played of that master’s symphonies. That made the felicitous performance by the Symphony of the Americas under the baton of James Brooks-Bruzzese on February 20 at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater all the more revelatory. Schubert was greatly influenced by the opera buffas of Gioacchino Rossini which were all the rage in the Vienna of 1816. Brooks-Bruzzese delivered Italianate charm aplenty in Schubert’s delightful “little C Major” symphony (as differentiated from the composer’s 9th Symphony – “the Great C Major”). 

The conductor infused the opening movement with Rossinian brio. Wonderfully precise and nuanced string playing was a pleasure to hear. Colorful woodwinds captured the wit and sudden minor key modulations with aplomb. The bewitching Andante was spun with elegant charm. Brooks-Bruzzese vividly conveyed the Haydnesque humor of the Scherzo Presto. Schubert’s quirky finale was rendered with invigorating élan. The stylishness and instrumental clarity of the entire performance were utterly delightful.

In a program that featured works by three composers who lived only into their thirties, Korean violinist Chin Kim was soloist in Mendelssohn’s eternal Violin Concerto in E Minor. Kim’s interpretation did not lack passion or romantic impetuosity but his tone was small and harsh. In the final movement he handled the lightning fire pyrotechnics astutely. Brooks-Bruzzese offered protean accompaniment.

The conductor opened the program with an arrangement by Robert McBride of the Overture to the musical Girl Crazy by George Gershwin. The orchestra’s snappy, dashing performance had the quintessential sound of a great Broadway pit ensemble.


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