May 23, 2018
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Big, big music at Tchaikovsky-centric BSO concert

Schuman Associates | BDN
Schuman Associates | BDN
Inon Barnatan will perform Tchaikovsky with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 24.
By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

A Tchaikovsky concert — like the program devoted entirely to the Russian composer at Sunday’s afternoon’s Bangor Symphony Orchestra Concert at the Collins Center for the Arts — has a little bit of everything. The crashing chords, monumental fanfares and rhythmic density are there, of course, but also moments of startling intimacy. The CCA stage was packed with musicians during the first half of the performance, and it was clear that concert-goers were in for some big, big music.

Those moments were provided almost entirely by the deft, dynamic playing of soloist Inon Barnatan, an Israeli-born pianist who performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor. Beginning with its timeless, simultaneously lyrical and crashing refrain, familiar to so many from its reappropriation in movies and TV, Barnatan moved through the concerto with the symphony with great sensitivity.

BSO flutist Jonathan Laperle shared a wonderful moment with Barnatan, the flute and piano intertwining beautifully, during the second movement. The concerto races toward its breathless finale, energetic and full of folk themes, and Barnatan met every twist and turn with lively, impassioned aplomb.

Between the gigantic fanfares of the opening piece — Tchaikovsky’s Coronation March — and the stylistic interchanges of the Concerto, by the second half of the concert the audience had already been put through many of the dynamic paces that the composer is known for. But there was one piece left: the Symphony No. 5 in E minor, as big and loud a symphony as has ever been written, and full of all the things Tchaikovsky is known for.

If there’s one thing Conductor and BSO Music Director Lucas Richman excels at (there are many, actually) it’s bringing forward each nuance in all the hidden corners of a piece. Even with a symphony that ends with such a bombastic, floor-rattling fanfare, Richman still manages to give the preceding movements great depth and drama.

The next Bangor Symphony Orchestra concert is set for Sunday, Jan. 19. The BSO also will team up with the Robinson Ballet for the annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” set for 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21 and 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Collins Center for the Arts.

The Bangor Daily News is a sponsor of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

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