Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 8, 2010

Dvorak & Tchaikovsky Concert

Springfield Symphony Orchestra
Symphony Hall, Springfield, MA
November 6, 2010
By Debra Tinkham

Melpomene: (poetic) Overture, by quasi-contemporary Bostonian composer, George Chadwick, created this imaginary tragedy in the late 1800s. This work borrowed from such talents as Richard Wagner, Robert Schumann and Tchaikovsky. Chadwick's serious and somber work is one of the most popular repertoires for orchestra. The orchestra had quite a warm up with this difficult, melodic number.

Antonin Dvorak's Piano Concerto in G minor featured Martin Kasik, a young and most talented pianist from Prague. Among his vast resume credits, this musician toured the United States in 2005 in honor of the 100th anniversary of his beloved idol, Dvorak. Known well for his recapitulations of melodic theme, his technique was well demonstrated in this three part Concerto. Allegro agitato was indeed agitated, but the most notable observations of this work were the back and forth of the orchestra and Kasik. Maestro Rhodes was delightful and well rehearsed, as always, for the action between both. Although he uses a full score, he seems to have each note memorized. Andante sostenuto was melodic and difficult and, through the entire program, had the most in-tune acoustics. The Finale: Allegro con fuoco especially displayed Kasik's articulate and difficult execution on the keyboard. Joseph and Elizabeth Kahn wrote of Kasik, "…his energy is inexhaustible, his immersion in the musical message is absolute..." It was no wonder that Kasik received three standing ovations. His encore was one of talent, dexterity and pure love of the music and the machine.

Symphony No. 5 in E minor, four movements, by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, was the grand finale. Although suffering bouts of depression, Tchaikovsky completed this lengthy and difficult symphony in less than four months. For the most part, this "andante" piece is somber with recapitulations reappearing throughout.

Of note, Kasik will be performing a concert of Chopin and Rachmaninoff at First Congregational Church of West Springfield on November 13, 2010.