Hot and sexy Rhapsody from Weintraub and MITSO
MIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Conducted by Richard Cornell.
Bennett Weintraub '90, piano.
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and
works by Hartke and Tchaikovsky.
Kresge Auditorium, May 12.
By JONATHAN RICHMOND
BENNY WEINTRAUB '90 put on a performance of Rhapsody in Blue as sizzling, hot, and sexy as if it were being performed on a sax: He plays saxophone and clarinet as well as the piano, and the musical cross-dressing he indulged in clearly paid <>
off. Weintraub captured a fine sense of rhythm, bending and shaping every little nuance in the music with a natural facility and panache. His timing was impeccable, his gradations in tone subtle in execution, gripping in effect -- in short, a great performance.
The MIT Symphony Orchestra, led by guest conductor Richard Cornell, was in top form, too, for the Rhapsody. Orchestral sound had a strong forward flow, strings showing that they could play with a smooth legato as well as thrust onward dramatically. The winds and brass were <>
all titillating: played with clarity and precision, but distinguished by an exciting creativity.
The concert had not got off to such a good start, but this was not the orchestra's fault. Hartke's Pacific Rim is, essentially, a pretentious piece of fluff, an essay in aimless cacophony which, it is to be hoped, will be quickly forgotten. Despite the banality of the work, some of its passages were difficult to play, and the orchestra clearly put in a virtuosic effort.
The concert ended with a variable performance of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5. The first movement was powerfully played, the opening having a particularly colorful Russian feel to it. The second movement came across sluggishly, though, and lacked in coherence. Control returned for the third movement, however, while the finale -- a little shapeless, perhaps in its first measures -- built up to a spectacular conclusion. All in all a terrific concert with which to end the year.