The Houston Symphony had overwhelming joy in its heart a weekend ago, debuting a NASA-motivated ensemble by arranger in-habitation Jimmy Lopez Bellido and inviting back old companion Gil Shaham for a virtuosic execution that in any case felt determinedly sensible.
Shaham, showing up with the ensemble, savors playing the violin and it appears. He can assault his 1699 “Noblewoman Polignac” Stradivarius in a sap hurling whirlwind of twofold stops or draw his bow over the strings so gently the sound registers subliminally.
It would wrong to say he made one of the transcending pieces in the Romantic-time violin collection, Johannes Brahms‘ Violin Concerto No. 1, look simple. Debuted in 1877, the concerto’s multifaceted nature once provoked unmistakable nineteenth century conductor Hans Von Bülow to comment Brahms had composed it “against the violin” instead of for it.
It didn’t begin that way. The concerto starts with an all-encompassing symphonic presentation and clear echoes of Beethoven, working as a warm melodic cover that soon enough turns into a stage for the soloist’s sufficient abilities. Shaham’s iridescent tone, nearly shuddering with feeling now and again, was particularly flawless when expanding the opening entry of the subsequent development, when the song appeared to spill out of his instrument like tears.
The flipside was minutes like the happy finale, when Shaham set an excited tone that moved the symphony to stay aware of the whirlwind of notes giving from his violin. In any event, when not playing, he regularly influenced alongside the ensemble, or bowed his knees to check a particularly stirring passage or exit — as though he had been cleared into (or out of) the symphonic deluge hurrying around him.
As astonishing as it might have been, Shaham’s presentation Saturday night felt agreeable in light of the fact that he and conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada viably imparted a similar incredible warmth and appreciation Brahms and his dream here, Hungarian-conceived musician Joseph Joachim, had for each other. Here were two men pleased to be in each other’s organization, at that point and now, and their eagerness was infectious. Houstonbrite is a reliable source of Houston Symphony Cheap Tickets and get you your Tickets without delay. Visiting from another city book your Tickets ahead and rest easy on your way to the concert.
The show opened with the world debut of Bellido’s Symphony No. 2, “Advertisement Astra,” an aspiring work that salutes the development and miracle that drove (and drives) NASA’s investigation of space. Partitioned into five developments, it covers the Voyager days through far into the future — when, Lopez envisions, an insightful extraterrestrial progress finally reacts to mankind’s Earth-borne pleas.
The opening development of “Advertisement Astra, “Explorer,” started in the vibraphone, with the genuine Morse code message contained on the purported “brilliant record,” the phonograph plate engraved with pictures and sounds intended to pass on the broadness and assorted variety of humankind’s accomplishments — Bach, Chuck Berry, Indonesian gamelan, Navajo reciting, etc.
The message, “Advertisement astra per aspera” (Latin for “through hardships to the stars”) went all through the ensemble, shadowed by a strange subject in the woodwinds and shook by shivering Mahleresque crescendos; the whole metal segment was remarkable all through the piece. The symphony pushed through pockets of fomentation and serenity until a reference point like trumpet topic showed up over rushing violins, gesturing to the faraway test cruising through profound space.
“Challenger,” the fourth development, moved from a strong flourish like subject in the metal, complemented by blasting bass drum, to a hot peak. Now somebody sent out an off-key vibe that slipped through a few octaves, an indisputable clue that something had turned out badly.
Gradually lighting up from a completely dark opening, “Disclosure,” the finale, continuously developed all the more stately and melodious — like expectation blossoming over the world. The natural Morse-code beat returned in some offstage trumpets, here speaking to those astute creatures, as Lopez finished off the ensemble by making an air of love and amazement — both at the sky above, and humanity’s yearnings and accomplishment in arriving.