In Monday’s (11/9) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s annual residencies at the University of Chicago have never been shy of new music, given that contemporary works have been a high priority of its artistic partners, including Dawn Upshaw, who has served in that capacity since 2007. The mesmerizing soprano was back with the ensemble Friday at Mandel Hall in a fascinating program that began the orchestra’s fifth Chicago residency. She treated the audience to the world premiere of ‘In the Land of the Lemon Trees,’ a song cycle by Alberto Iglesias commissioned by the St. Paul orchestra. Miguel Harth-Bedoya was the able conductor. Iglesias, the Spanish composer best known for his scores to Pedro Almodovar films, based his vocal work on English and French poems by John Ashbery, Rene Char and Wallace Stevens. Rather than clothe their dense verses in astringent modernist harmonies, as one might have expected, Iglesias has opted instead for luminous, diatonic lyricism.” Upshaw also served as soloist on Golijov’s Three Songs for Soprano. The program was rounded out by Piazzolla’s Fuga y Misterio and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Steven Copes as soloist.

Posted November 11, 2009