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Tender Tones

Frankfurter Neue Presse, 16.02.2009   

Tender Tones

This time, the Kurtheater's audience was treated to an unusual concert. While most of the symphonic concerts for A cycle subscribers are focused on traditional repertoire, this evening was marked by a captivating, exotic flair: Astor Piazzolla, Joaquin Rodrigo and Isaac Albéniz were the composers on the bill, contributing melancholy strains and a southern spirit. This was topped off by an extremely colorful cast of soloists, as the Piazolla featured a solo piano, while Rodrigo composed the original version of his "Concierto Andaluz" for no less than four solo guitars. 

Hence, the list of protagonists is accordingly long: the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen was the orchestra providing the musical backdrop, and the organizers were able to recruit pianist Thomas Wellen as well as the Barrios Guitar Quartett for the latter solo part, far from any conventionally beaten musical tracks. The conductor was Lisa Xanthopoulou, who has been well-known to the Bad Homburg cultural scene since she won the 2002 Conductors' Prize. Conducting continues to be a male domain, and Xanthopoulou is one of the few women in this profession who is making a name for herself with great commitment and thanks to brilliant performances. Clad in a silver tux, she coaxed riveting and passionate playing out of her ensemble.

In "Tres Piezas" by Astor Piazzolla, the artists conveyed a great deal of fire and plenty of charm. Naturally, we were all curious to hear the original version of the "Concierto Andaluz" by Joaquin Rodrigo. It turned out to be one of sensitive strings, and one had to listen carefully to hear to tender tones of the guitars over the blanket of sound produced by the orchestra. Solo guitars are typically equipped with amplifiers in situations like this, but since this was the original version and Rodrigo certainly didn't envisage the use of electrical equipment, this was fair enough.   

The concert closed with an enthralling performance of the "Iberia Suite" by Isaac Albeniz for the Kurtheater audience.

Michael Jacob

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