In Saturday’s (5/22) Chicago Sun-Times, Bryant Manning writes, “Detlev Glanert: The name sounds like it should belong to a world-weary, dyspeptic German intellectual. In the case of one brainy Hamburg-born composer, it does. The 49-year old has written an angular opera based on Albert Camus, studied under Communist Hanz Werner Henze, and devised an orchestral work of song and dances to reveal man’s monstrous nature. ‘It is about the evil inside people,’ Glanert told the British press. But his ‘Theatrum bestiarum’ (2005), which had its U.S. premiere Thursday night at Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Symphony under the command of guest conductor Semyon Bychkov, revealed a little gem more vital in spirit than gloomy in its satire. The 20-minute, single-movement work reflects on the twisted psychologies of 20th century dictators. … What’s striking is the smorgasbord of styles the composer embraces without sacrificing a personal voice. … Between its mix of shimmering facades a la Ravel and stampeding Russian machismo, this musical ‘zoo of human beings’ played out in unpredictable rainbow style.” Mahler’s Fifth Symphony comprised the second half of the program.

Posted May 24, 2010