In Saturday’s (3/14) Orange County Register (California), Timothy Mangan writes, “The latest concert by the Pacific Symphony, heard Thursday night in Segerstrom Concert Hall, doubled as an act of diplomacy. Music director Carl St.Clair invited members of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, including its conductor, as well as Syrian folk musicians to take part in an ‘Arabian Nights’ program. The government of Syria, of course, is officially considered not one of this country’s best pals. But music will make friends. Thursday’s concert unwound as a leisurely exploration of traditional Arab music and instruments, heard in the plush context of symphony orchestra accompaniment. … The concert began with an arrangement, for qanoun and orchestra, of the ‘Winter’ concerto from Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons.’ The qanoun is basically a zither that sits on the lap of the player.” Shafi Baderddin’s Concerto for Nai [reed flute] and String Orchestra; Zaid Jabri’s Oriento Grosso for clarinet, cello, and orchestra; and “Tango for Bouzaq [lute] and Strings” by Mohamed Abdulkarim were all heard for the first time in the U.S. Solhi al Wadi’s Meditation on a Theme by M. Abdul Wahhab and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade rounded out the program.
Posted March 16, 2009