Evaluate: The DeKalb Symphony opens season with visitor cellist Roee Harrán

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The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra took the stage Tuesday night for the opening of their 2022-23 season, their first efficiency with not too long ago minted music director Paul Bhasin formally ensconced in his new function and that includes Atlanta cellist Roee Harrán because the visitor soloist.

Following a whirlwind choice course of, which included every of the 4 shortlisted candidates performing with the symphony as part of its “Masterworks” collection final spring, Bhasin takes the reins and can set the course for the orchestra’s foreseeable future. With that in thoughts, the season’s opening evening appeared a revealing litmus check for what to anticipate from Bhasin going ahead.

Bhasin’s stage presence and conducting fashion is conservative and environment friendly with out being devoid of ardour the place it counts. That balanced nature — which got here throughout when he mentioned his new job final week with ArtsATL — appeared acceptable for an orchestra in a strategy of transition.

The night opened with Joaquín Turina’s La Procesión del Rocío, Op.9. Initially premiered in Madrid in 1913 to have fun the nation’s annual pageant to honor the Virgin Mary, the piece capabilities in two halves. The primary is jaunty and eccentric, whereas the second migrates into extra solemn, reflective territory. The work’s opening salvo is brilliant and playful — the sort of jovial chaos that underscores traditional Disney cartoons.

It’s the form of uptempo work that the DeKalb Symphony handles effectively — cheerful and enthusiastic whereas nonetheless staying inside a middle-of-the-road consolation zone. The shortage of cohesion that marked some concert events final season appeared gone and, below Bhasin, the orchestra has already developed appreciable chemistry.

Roee Harrán
Atlanta cellist Roee Harrán was the featured soloist for the opening live performance of the season. (Photograph by Dan Smigrod)

The extra technically demanding opening motion of La Procesión del Rocío hinges on a collection of dramatic accents by the woodwinds and the part performed a convincing sport of scorching potato with their stringed counterparts, capturing the piece’s intricacy even at its most dynamic factors.

The featured soloist for the night was Israeli-born cellist Roee Harrán. He carried out Camille Saint-Saëns’ Concerto for Violoncello, No. 11 in A minor, Op.33. The work is infamous for its structure-bending method, which locations the introduction of the cello on the primary bar — a extremely uncommon compositional alternative for solo cello works of the time and a bellwether for much more uncommon developments to come back later within the piece.

The result’s a composition which calls for that the cellist show a excessive vary of technical acumen, whereas having the ability to shift right away to swish melodic passages. Harrán was greater than up for the problem, handing over a efficiency that was stuffed with well mannered fury whereas by no means turning into so unhinged that it rendered the sudden modifications into mellower passages jarring.

Much less spectacular was the primary half nearer “Capriccio Espagnol, op.34” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Stuffed with all of the pomp and circumstance for which the Russian classical ethos is thought, it’s a work that calls for to be performed with extroverted, bombastic abandon, a feat that’s nonetheless a battle for the orchestra. Some of the pervasive shortfalls on this regard got here from the percussion part, which appeared tepid and afraid to totally decide to the brash tonality required. That form of restraint saved the remainder of the orchestra on a brief leash and in the end reigned in what ought to have been an excellent parade of Russian classical pastiche.

The night’s second half was devoted solely to Howard Hanson’s “Romantic” Symphony No. 2, Op. 30. It’s a totally satisfactory work from the early half of the twentieth century however, except its elegant construct, largely devoid of the memorable parts that made the night’s first half so spectacular. The night’s efficiency, nevertheless, deserves one important commendation — the work builds to a thunderous shut and it was lastly, in these closing passages, that the orchestra’s percussion part embraced the breadth and width of their true capability.

All in all, Bhasin has proven himself to be a gently commanding and totally satisfying presence on the conductor’s stand and the orchestra appears comfy with him. It can definitely be participating to see how the ensemble develops below his command and the way he’ll increase their dynamic vary as time goes on.

The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra returns November 8 with particular visitor Jessica Wu on violin. The night will embrace works by Bach, Bizet and Tchaikovsky.


Jordan Owen started writing about music professionally on the age of 16 in Oxford, Mississippi. A 2006 graduate of the Berklee School of Music, he’s knowledgeable guitarist, bandleader and composer. He’s presently the lead guitarist for the jazz group Different Strangers, the ability metallic band Axis of Empires and the melodic loss of life/thrash metallic band Century Spawn.


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