Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Features and More

Multer leads Florida Orchestra with passionate abandon

TAMPA — The Florida Orchestra is fortunate that it has a concertmaster in Jeffrey Multer who thrives in the spotlight. Some concertmasters, no matter how good they might be, don't have the artistic personality to stand in front of their orchestras as soloists. Multer, however, embraces the role, as he showed Friday night as the soloist in the Sibelius Violin Concerto at Ferguson Hall of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

In a way, the violinistic stars were in alignment, because Multer was aided by guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger, a violinist himself, as well as assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and music director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles. And, of course, Sibelius, too, was a fiddle player.

Right from the plaintive passage by the soloist at the start, Multer brought a passionate romanticism to the great Slavic melodies of the first two movements. He plunged into the first-movement cadenza with fearless abandon. Only in the dramatic third movement did his stamina seem to flag.

After intermission, Multer, violin case in hand, took an aisle seat in the hall to listen to the rest of the concert. The concertmaster is on the search committee for the orchestra's next music director, and Lehninger could conceivably be a candidate. The conductor had acquitted himself well in the concerto, expertly handling the complex transitions between orchestra and soloist, though timpani and cellos were too loud beneath Multer in early measures of the finale.

Lehninger was in his element in Rachmaninoff's lush, long Symphony No. 2, leading the orchestra in an elegant, thrilling performance. Rarely have the big Hollywood tunes sounded so grand.

Rachmaninoff took his time to say what he had to say in the Second, and some conductors make cuts in the work. But Lehninger played all 59 minutes of it, except for the first movement's repeat. As a viola player told me before the concert, Rachmaninoff is like chocolate, and you can never have too much chocolate.

John Fleming can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8716.

Comments
Documentary ‘The Human Race,’ which has Tampa Bay ties, celebrates running in 50s and well beyond

Documentary ‘The Human Race,’ which has Tampa Bay ties, celebrates running in 50s and well beyond

An 80-year-old woman runs half marathons to stay one step ahead of Alzheimer’s. A man in his 50s runs his first 5K. A cancer survivor celebrates her 60s by running the U.S. perimeter.Welcome to The Human Race, an upcoming documentary celebrating seni...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Time for a skin cancer screening?

Time for a skin cancer screening?

Folks who live in Florida have a special relationship with the sun. After all, this is the Sunshine State. And whether we’ve lived here all our lives or come along later, many Floridians, especially seniors, have had decades of exposure to the Florid...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Exercise myths persist, so let’s fight them

Exercise myths persist, so let’s fight them

When it comes to fitness, can you tell the difference between fact and fiction? Misinformation abounds, and research is continually disproving it. Some myths, like "no pain, no gain," are fading away, but there are plenty more that persist. It’s impo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Drunk in love with banana bread

Drunk in love with banana bread

I have a thing about bananas. They have to be perfectly yellow, with a light hint of green. And they absolutely cannot have a spot of brown on them. At all. Brown bananas make me gag. My window of tasty opportunity is small, so I love to bake with ov...
Published: 04/24/18
Cooking Challenge: Making a stovetop steak for the first time

Cooking Challenge: Making a stovetop steak for the first time

Raw meat terrifies me. Growing up, I was the kid who avoided cookie dough because it could give me salmonella poisoning. Just imagine how I feel about a slab of bloody steak. So for my latest cooking challenge, I’m diving into the deep end and making...
Published: 04/24/18
Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

ST. PETERSBURG — Without question, Mel Brooks’ The Producers carved a more indelible mark than most of the musicals in the entire genre of throwaway musicals it parodied.The creator of Get Smart and Blazing Saddles not only co-wrote the adaptation of...
Published: 04/23/18
It’s a boy! Kate Middleton gives birth to third royal baby

It’s a boy! Kate Middleton gives birth to third royal baby

LONDON — For Kate, the wait is over. The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a healthy baby boy — a third child for Kate and Prince William and fifth in line to the British throne.The couple’s Kensington Palace office announced news of the birt...
Published: 04/23/18
Taste test: vanilla wafers

Taste test: vanilla wafers

When it comes to cookies, our judges are all in. When it comes to vanilla wafers, most of them admitted to reaching for the familiar Nilla Wafers in the bright yellow box. Surprisingly, they liked the well-known brand least of the seven wafers sample...
Published: 04/23/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

Associated PressLAYA, BhutanPrayer flags whip in the wind, flying across steep valleys and roads. Buddhist temples, stupa shrines and majestic fortresses called zhongs dot the landscape. Giant water-powered prayer wheels spin from tumbling falls. Far...
Published: 04/20/18