Monday, May 28, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Florida Orchestra's flawless concert packs plenty of POW!

Sometimes, musical performances come across as flawless. The Florida Orchestra provided one of those rare experiences during its Morning Masterworks concert at the Mahaffey Theater on Friday.

The elusive moment of musical ecstasy is no small feat, especially for a group of 80 or more musicians. Think of all the correct notes that need to be placed in exactly the right space in time. All of the hours musicians have spent on their technique. The intangible element of musical expression that is so lacking in many performances. Surely individuals are making small mistakes, but on the whole, everything collides in a spectacular way.

Speaking of such collisions, a standout piece in Friday's concert was Michael Daugherty's "Red Cape Tango" from Metropolis Symphony, a depiction of the fight between Superman and the villain Doomsday. Guest conductor Daniel Hege seemed excited to introduce the work from the podium. He described the explosive moments as onomatopoeia, like you might see in the comics: WHAM! BOOM! or POW!

It begins with a call and response between an offstage French horn and one onstage. A solo bass introduces the tango rhythm, which persists for most of the piece, and a solo bassoon plays the principal melody, which is woven from the same fabric as the medieval plainchant Dies Irae from the Mass for the Dead.

Then we get the BLAMS and KAPOWS, often punctuated by total silence. Hege was exemplary in these moments: The alternation between tango and musical fight sequences (or both combined) was extremely effective and pulled off without a glitch. Hege had the perfect combination of technique and expression and didn't distract from the music in any way.

The concerto on the program was almost equally exciting. Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by piano prodigy Andrew von Oeyen, is just about as flashy a showpiece as you can get from the piano repertoire. Von Oeyen was brilliant in his somewhat showy performance and even looked snazzy in his designer blue suit. He made the last variation of the work — the one that gave Rachmaninoff himself trouble — seem easy. It's also interesting to note the bit of clever programming: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini has a reference to the Dies Irae chant as well, but in a much more romantic fashion.

Perhaps it was because the first half of the concert was so interesting that the Schumann Symphony No. 2 in C major seemed rather lackluster. It was by no means a bad performance, although the violins did seem to struggle just a bit with their entrance to the very demanding second movement scherzo. It's so violin-heavy, in fact, that Hege motioned for them to stand separately from the rest of the orchestra as they were accepting the applause, which still wasn't as enthusiastic from the audience as before intermission.

Comments
Sunset Music Festival cancellation sends DJs, fans scrambling to clubs across Tampa

Sunset Music Festival cancellation sends DJs, fans scrambling to clubs across Tampa

When the threat of Subtropical Storm Alberto led Tampa officials to pull the plug on the 2018 Sunset Music Festival on Sunday, it was less an implosion than an explosion.Some 20,000 pass-holding fans and DJs who'd flown in from around the world were ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Alberto cancellations: Sunday’s Sunset Music Festival, Tampa Bay Margarita Festival called off

Alberto cancellations: Sunday’s Sunset Music Festival, Tampa Bay Margarita Festival called off

Facing ugly weather from Subtropical Storm Alberto on Sunday, the Sunset Music Festival and Tampa Bay Margarita Festival have both decided to cancel their second days."This decision to cancel was made by the Tampa Sports Authority, in conjunction wit...
Published: 05/27/18
Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

In the end, we were waiting for a drop that never came.With Subtropical Storm Alberto forming in the southern Gulf of Mexico, it seemed a matter not of if but when but the Sunset Music Festival would suffer its nasty effects — inches of rain, g...
Published: 05/27/18
Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

The Sweeney "Family" Band, a musical comedy act that blends country, folk and gospel music with knee-slapping humor, will perform June 3 at the CARES Elfers Center, 4136 Barker Drive, New Port Richey. Doors open at 1 p.m., with the show starting at 2...
Published: 05/25/18
Watch Kenny Chesney’s new ‘Get Along’ video, filmed entirely at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Watch Kenny Chesney’s new ‘Get Along’ video, filmed entirely at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Were you at Kenny Chesney's concert on April 21 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa? Then there's a decent chance you might be in his new video.The country superstar dropped the official video for his new single Get Along on Thursday, and it was appare...
Published: 05/24/18
Sunset Music Festival, more outdoor concerts could be soaked by weekend rain

Sunset Music Festival, more outdoor concerts could be soaked by weekend rain

  Your Memorial Day weekend weather forecast is not looking good, with a big low pressure system, Invest 90L, hovering out in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to dump several inches of water on Saturday. For music fans, it couldn't be coming at a...
Published: 05/24/18
An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

Recently I was asked to create a playlist for a summer beach party. An opportunity to procrastinate and mess around on Spotify for a few hours? Yeah, totally, when can I start?I like playlists that are diverse, not just in terms of genre (pop, hip-ho...
Published: 05/24/18
Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

It's anyone's guess as to whether this weekend's ugly rains will hold off long enough for the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival to crack open some 10,000 bottles of tequila in Curtis Hixon Park.But if it does, you want to know when you can see your favori...
Published: 05/23/18
97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

The 97X Barbecue Music and Arts Festival — formerly the 97X BBQ, formerly the 97X Barbecue, formerly … well, who can keep track of it all? — returns on Saturday to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, with a lineup that includes Awolnation...
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18