The third concert of the Concepción Symphony season brought for the first time to our city the renowned Spanish conductor Rubén Gimeno. The program opened with “Villama – The Death of the River” (2015), one of the many works by Atacamean composer Carlos Zamora which have been programmed these days in Chile and England, where Zamora is pursuing doctoral studies at the York University. The whole piece is based on the well-known Medieval “Dies irae”, which in Zamora’s work represents “the song of the river who seems to know it’s heading to its own death”. The beauty of “Villama” is easy to appreciate, especially in such an accomplished performance as the one given by Gimeno with the complicity of the Concepción Symphony’s strings contingent.
Equally accomplished was the rest of the program, comprising two very contrasting creations by Johannes Brahms. The “Academic Festive Overture” (usually known by the wrongly translated title “Academic Festival Overture”), with its potpourri of student brindisi and bulky orchestration, can easily sound vulgar and noisy, but Gimeno drew a balanced, even elegant, sound from the orchestra, whose players also responded impeccably to the fast “tempo” demanded by the Spanish maestro. The same qualities were in display in the Fourth Symphony, by far the longest and most substantial work in the program. Every movement shined in all its glory, with a “scherzo” of astonishing vitality and an impetuous rendition of the conclusive and monumental “passacaglia” based on a theme by Bach. The numerous audience in the UdeC Theater acclaimed enthusiastically this magnificent close to an excellent concert and happy encounter with a baton well worth getting to know.