Friday, June 22, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Strings lead the way in Florida Orchestra finale, The Rite of Spring.

TAMPA — I recently watched a documentary (by British filmmaker Tony Palmer) on Stravinsky, and it had footage of ice breaking up in the frozen Neva River in St. Petersburg, the Russian composer's childhood home. Experiencing that could have been the source of his oft-quoted remark on "the whole earth cracking" during the onset of spring as inspiration for his ballet score The Rite of Spring.

Such imagery is a long way from our steamy springtime in the bay area, but it was still a sharp idea for guest conductor Tito Munoz and the Florida Orchestra to play Stravinsky's revolutionary masterpiece Friday night in Morsani Hall of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, just a few days before the 100th anniversary of its premiere in Paris (May 29, 1913), the historic staging by the Ballets Russes that caused a scandal. It's a sensational centerpiece for the orchestra's season finale.

The Rite takes a huge orchestra of 99 musicians, and the sheer weight of the dissonant cacophony can be overwhelming, but it all starts with the weird little bassoon solo, expertly played by Anthony Georgeson, that sounds like a strangled goose (it's a Lithuanian wedding song).

Because the brass, winds and percussion create such an incredible noise at times, they get the glory, but for me, it's the writing for strings that makes the piece so radical, from the famous hard-driving chords about five minutes in — The Augurs of Spring (Dance of the Young Girls) — to all the intricate counting needed to negotiate the random notes in the climactic Sacrificial Dance. Stravinsky's greatest hit doesn't come around very often, and Friday's crowd of 1,177 got a fabulous treat.

To establish a French theme, the concert opened with Messiaen's "symphonic meditation" Les Offrandes Oubliees, with its slow-fast-slow movements and a daringly soft ending in the strings. Then came Debussy's tone poem of watery impressionism La Mer, which wound up with a rich brass choir. Throughout the evening, Munoz gave the impression of a man who thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing on the podium, no small thing in such a complex program.

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

Comments
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade. "I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "Tha...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Luke Bryan talks love, acceptance and his growing depth before Tampa stop

Luke Bryan talks love, acceptance and his growing depth before Tampa stop

It’s been awhile since Luke Bryan crashed our party. The country music superstar who has racked up awards hasn’t blessed us ’round these parts in awhile. Bryan last played Tampa back in 2015. "We played many multiple nights at the (MidFlorida Credit ...
Published: 06/21/18
Ticket window: Comedy Get Down, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Gladys Knight and more

Ticket window: Comedy Get Down, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Gladys Knight and more

Tickets for the following events go on sale this week: • Comedy Get Down with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley and George Lopez, 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, $25-$125, on sale at 10 a.m....
Published: 06/20/18
Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanIt’s been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But he’s about to make up for lost time. On Saturday he’ll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Published: 06/20/18
Clearwater Jazz Holiday lineup: Doobie Brothers, George Thorogood, Sheila E. and more

Clearwater Jazz Holiday lineup: Doobie Brothers, George Thorogood, Sheila E. and more

Get ready to break out your finest purple during this year's Clearwater Jazz Holiday.A night celebrating Prince, led by proteges Sheila E. and Morris Day and the Time, will be among the highlights of this year's 39th annual Jazz Holiday, Oct. 18-21 i...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
SoundBytes: Alice in Chains, David Sedaris, Israel Houghton and more

SoundBytes: Alice in Chains, David Sedaris, Israel Houghton and more

— Alice in Chains are heading back out on the road, and they're coming to Orlando. They'll play the House of Blues on Oct. 27. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Click here.— Gospel great Israel Houghton is coming to the Straz Center on Oct. 12. ...
Published: 06/19/18
Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

In 2016 Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, a culture-quaking song cycle about her troubled marriage to Jay-Z, and more broadly about the black female experience in America. It was her best and most meaningful work, and it was nominated for Album of the Year a...
Published: 06/19/18
XXXTentacion, controversial Florida rapper and singer, shot dead at 20

XXXTentacion, controversial Florida rapper and singer, shot dead at 20

The last words posted to XXXTentacion's Instagram Stories on Monday afternoon: "planning a charity event for this weekend Florida!"Whatever it was, it would have been huge. The 20-year-old singer-rapper was among the biggest — and most controve...
Published: 06/18/18
SoundBytes: Mat Kearney, Gladys Knight, Big Boi, Ski Mask the Slump God and more

SoundBytes: Mat Kearney, Gladys Knight, Big Boi, Ski Mask the Slump God and more

— Singer-songwriter Mat Kearney is returning to the Ritz Ybor on Sept. 27, with Atlas Genius opening. Tickets start at $26.50. Click here for details.— Also coming to the Ritz Ybor in September: South Florida rapper (and a new member of X...
Published: 06/18/18
George Lopez, Cedric the Entertainer, more bringing Comedy Get Down tour to Tampa

George Lopez, Cedric the Entertainer, more bringing Comedy Get Down tour to Tampa

Nothing like outdoor comedy on a mid-November night in Florida, right?Okay, so it's not a club or theater or even an arena, and it rarely hosts comedy shows of any kind. Still, the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre will bring a host of fans when t...
Published: 06/18/18