In Sunday’s (3/15) Oregonian (Portland), David Stabler reviews the Oregon Symphony’s premiere of Tomas Svoboda’s new work “Vortex.” “The woodwinds shriek, the brass rumbles and the strings shake in the sonic gale. And then five sets of drums explode in a battery of bongos, tom-toms, timpani, snare and bass drum. … ‘Vortex’ is an apt title for Svoboda’s 23-minute symphony, which grows from cat-quiet pizzicatos to a typhoon of sound tightly controlled and effectively deployed. It’s the 69-year-old Portland composer’s first overtly political symphony, a ‘warning signal’ written in anger over the stupidity of war and greed. … In a break from tradition, ‘Vortex’ appeared last on Saturday’s concert at Schnitzer Hall. Usually, new music comes first, followed by a concerto with a guest artist and a longer symphony to finish. But music director Carlos Kalmar reversed the order, allowing ‘Vortex’ to have its full effect. … The orchestra gave a taut, convincing performance, but special kudos to principal cello Nancy Ives for her voice-in-the-wilderness solos, and to principal percussion Niel DePonte for his key xylophone solos.” Also on the program were Brahms’s Third Symphony and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, with Freddy Kempf as soloist.
Posted March 17, 2009