02 May 2017.

After a 10-year absence, Argentinian conductor Carlos Vieu was welcomed with a full-house at the UdeC Theater in the 2nd concert of the 2017 Symphony Season. In the opening movement of Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, the transparent and melancholic sonority achieved by the soloist Daniel Kovacich in conjunction with the Concepción Symphony’s strings and harp was like a comforting balm after the heartrending pathos of the Preludes by Chilean composer Alfonso Leng that had opened the program. The influence of jazz and other popular music became evident in the brilliant cadenza for the soloist, as well as in the second and last movement of Copland’s Concerto, with an electrifying display of rhythmic precision by everyone involved.

The Argentinian clarinetist, a member of the Colón Theater Orchestra, completed his presentation with an encore, fantasizing on the melody of a well-known Chilean song: Violeta Parra’s La jardinera (“The Woman Gardener”). Then, without any pause in his playing, the musician invited the listeners with a gesture to sing the song, while he improvised an accompaniment—an unforgettable moment that complemented the numerous tribute concerts performed by the Concepción Symphony during the current Violeta Parra’s centenary year.

The second part of the program consisted in Schubert’s 9th Symphony. Maestro Vieu took some liberties with tempo and established a clear contrast between the main sections of the opening movement. Despite the work’s length, the conductor managed to always keep the vitality of the orchestral textures, with the brass very present but not overpowering the other sections, as well as very incisive and alert timpani. At almost 180 years from its posthumous premiere, Schubert’s “Great Symphony” still poses a challenge of athletic resistance to the players; but the Concepción Symphony kept the spirits up until the final chord, which was welcomed with a well-deserved ovation by the audience.