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Review: ICO & IVCI welcome Andrés Cárdenes

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1986 IVCI bronze medalist Andres Cardenes
  • 1986 IVCI bronze medalist Andres Cardenes

It's been a while since we've had violinist and Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Andrés Cárdenes return to Indy, the last time being a 5-star duo with pianist Zeyda Ruga Suzuki in June 2002, one of the early IVCI Laureate concerts. This Saturday the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra co-joined with the IVCI's Laureate series, and featured Cárdenes in Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63. ICO music director Kirk Trevor led the orchestra in a three-work program to a nearly filled IHC Basile Theater.

First came the Intermezzo for String Orchestra (1900) by the relatively unknown German composer Franz Schreker (1878-1934). Sounding nothing like Richard Strauss, who then had just about finished his popular tone poem series, we hear -- of all things -- Schreker's high strings open with a resemblance to Verdi's Prelude to La Traviata, conveying an equally opulent wistfulness. The full string complement then takes hold in a post-Romantic, pre-Modernist style, one which I found mildly engaging. Trevor's strings held their end of the bargain with perhaps a few slips here and there.

With the Prokofiev, Cárdenes confirms his station near the top of the IVCI laureate heap, with rich but well controlled timbres. Trevor and his forces put the composer's mature three movements on full display, with added castanets in the jauntily rapid triple-meter finale. Soloist and orchestra remained in near-perfect balance throughout.

Trevor concluded with a work I can't recall ever hearing live locally, Haydn's Symphony No. 99 in E-flat -- a "late" symphony from the Austrian composer's most mature set of six written for his second London visit in 1794-95. Filled with inventive wonders, it reaches a peak in the purely 18th-century Classical style. With a heavy dose of intricate passage work, the players gave us a few ragged edges. But it was so nice to hear it once again that I could overlook its lack of perfection. Perhaps with another rehearsal or two . . . May 12; Indiana History Center

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