In Saturday’s (4/4) Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Pierre Ruhe writes, “In 2005, after the ASO and Chorus premiered and recorded Christopher Theofanidis’ ‘The Here and Now,’ music director Robert Spano went back to the composer, a Texan now teaching at Yale, and asked him to write, in the conductor’s words, ‘a great American symphony.’ … In his first attempt at the form, Theofanidis finished Symphony—no ironic quotation marks, no evocative subtitle—up against the deadline. The score is dated March 26. The ASO gave its world premiere Thursday. Symphony’s best parts are a step forward for the 41-year-old composer, whose most compelling sounds mix New World optimism and verve with a fragrant, almost Asiatic, serenity. … The opening fanfare—oboes and clarinets singing a sorrowful ‘fate’ motif over and over—is interrupted by a full orchestra crash, with bells clanging and low brass bellowing. … At the end, the audience leapt to its feet. Spano hugged Theofanidis onstage.”

Posted April 6, 2009