Friday, January 19, 2018
Features and More

Sonic poetry thrills, trills at Florida Orchestra

TAMPA — Friday's concert by the Florida Orchestra was in excellent hands with guest conductor Gerard Schwarz on the podium in Morsani Hall at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performng Arts. Having been music director of the Seattle Symphony for 26 years, until stepping down in 2011, Schwarz's experience showed in his seemingly effortless handling of a pair of challenging works, the Vaughan Williams anti-war cantata Dona Nobis Pacem (with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and soloists) and Dvorak's masterful Symphony No. 7.

In the cantata, which sets three Walt Whitman poems, soprano soloist Christina Pier was a ravishing presence, floating above the tumult with her singing of the Angus Dei and especially its final plea: Dona nobis pacem (Grant us peace), repeated throughout the five-part work. (Pier replaced Sarah Coburn, who canceled because of illness in her family.) The other soloist, bass-baritone Charles Robert Austin, gave an uneven performance, sounding awfully light and hooty in Reconciliation.

The Master Chorale, prepared by its artistic director, James Bass, is getting to be an old hand at Whitman's verse. In January, it collaborated with the orchestra on Delius' Sea Drift, with its Whitman text. In 2006, orchestra and chorus performed Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, which also sets verse by Whitman.

Friday, the chorus' gorgeous, celestial sound in Dirge for Two Veterans was a revelation, the words remarkably clear and well-enunciated for such a large group, 160 voices strong.

It is a truism that the final two movements of Dvorak's D-minor symphony are close to perfection in their Bohemian dance rhythms and punchy brass, but I also found myself drawn into the more tangled web of the opening movement. Under Schwarz, the multiplicity of elements — a brusque horn phrase, a fluttering flute trill, a swelling theme in the strings — all combined into a constantly moving sonic texture that was completely engrossing.

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

Comments
‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

CLEARWATER — From the moment the title character takes center stage, Mike Hammer — Encore for Murder is sold. Rarely does one actor own an entire production the way Gary Sandy owns this world premiere, and it’s a pleasure at watch, in large measure t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Banksy’s Haight Street Rat coming to Winter Haven gallery

Banksy’s Haight Street Rat coming to Winter Haven gallery

Fans of notorious street artist and activist Banksy won’t have to travel too far to see one of his original pieces, thanks to an exhibit opening on Jan. 27 at the Outer Space Gallery in Winter Haven. The "Haight Street Rat" will be on display, on the...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Inside American Stage’s plan to offer free or reduced admission to young people

Inside American Stage’s plan to offer free or reduced admission to young people

ST. PETERSBURG An air compressor did most of the talking as the small crew stapled down flooring to the stage. A master carpenter kept unskilled but eager workers on track, telling them where to line up edges. An astringent smell of glue permeated t...
Published: 01/18/18
Overtourism and safety cited in Fodor’s where-not-to-go list

Overtourism and safety cited in Fodor’s where-not-to-go list

As you contemplate all those "where to go in 2018" lists, here’s a twist: a list of places to avoid in the new year. The where not to go list is from Fodor’s, the travel guidebook publisher. Fodor’s "no list" includes places plagued by overtourism an...
Published: 01/18/18
Bar review: Florida spirits and brews at the newest Local Draught House in Tampa

Bar review: Florida spirits and brews at the newest Local Draught House in Tampa

I don’t consider myself "old" — though I have gotten into a bad habit of informing door people insistent on checking my ID that I’m halfway to 70. But I’m frequently made aware of how far removed my lifestyle is from that of my 20s.So when I walked i...
Published: 01/18/18
Local craft beer of the week: Electric Wizard IPA from 7venth Sun Brewery

Local craft beer of the week: Electric Wizard IPA from 7venth Sun Brewery

The past six months have been kind to Dunedin’s 7venth Sun Brewery. In August, the brewery’s long-awaited Tampa expansion finally happened, with its much larger Seminole Heights facility and tasting room opening in a town eager to try its range of ul...
Published: 01/18/18
Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Fabio is coming! Not the Fabio on your romance novel, with the billowing hair and large quantities of artificial butter. This Fabio, in all likelihood, uses real butter. And olive oil. Fabio Viviani, the charming Top Chef alum known for appearances...
Published: 01/17/18
Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Published: 01/17/18
Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Shake Shack inches closer to Tampa Bay with new Florida restaurant

Beloved burger restaurant Shake Shack, which once inspired hungry diners to wait in hours-long lines at New York's Madison Square Park before expanding with dozens of locations across the U.S., is inching closer to Tampa Bay. A lease agreement  with...
Published: 01/17/18
Florida teen is begging Taylor Swift to take him to prom

Florida teen is begging Taylor Swift to take him to prom

A Bradenton teenager isn’t hoping to take just anyone to his senior prom — he’s set his sights high.Dayton Modderman, a senior at Bradenton Christian School, is getting attention across the web for making a prom-posal video asking Taylor Swift to be ...
Published: 01/17/18