31 July 2017
July 29th evening brought to a close the brilliant series of symphony concerts conducted by versatile Israeli maestro Doron Salomon. After the magnificent local premiere of Liszt’s monumental “Faust Symphony” and a concert with outstanding representatives of Brazilian popular music and jazz, the Concepción Symphony Orchestra and its guest conductor climbed another summit of the late Romantic repertoire: César Franck’s Symphony in d minor.
The program started with a suite that brings together the main themes from the awarded Chilean documentary series “Al sur del mundo” [“South of the World”], written by well-known composer Guillermo Rifo. Based on those themes, originally recorded with just a few instruments, Rifo built a work evoking interesting moods by combining a dissonance-rich harmony, an abundant percussion—sometimes in a leading role—and very attractive melodies.
Orchestra and conductor presented the score in a very correct way, and then amazed with a shimmering performance of the very Spanish ballet “El amor brujo” [“Love the Sorcerer”]. The soloist—mezzosoprano Gloria Rojas—suitably adjusted her voice’s resonance to achieve a style consistent with the popular roots of this music, and showed great assuredness and power in the final movements.
Despite the arduous first part, the orchestra musicians seemed to tackle Franck’s vast symphony with their energy reserves intact. The extraordinary performance evidenced a meticulous work in the balance between the different instrumental groups, as well as in achieving the right intonation throughout the constant modulations. The tone in the more emphatic passages was simply glorious, and was followed by an enthusiastic final ovation, affectionately prolonged as each member of the orchestra was given flowers in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Concepción Symphony.