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Review: ICO ends season in its new home

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Pianist Dudana Mazmanishvili
  • Pianist Dudana Mazmanishvili

This was my first visit to the Howard L.Schrott Center, a structure practically nudging the more imposing Clowes Memorial Hall. Its auditorium, seating 450, opened April 18, and offers more bloom and slightly more resonance to the sounds of the ICO than at the Indiana History Center's Basile Theater, the ensemble's former home base. Moreover, the stage is larger, giving the orchestra's 32 players more breathing room.

Saturday's program was highlighted by Georgian (Europe) guest pianist Dudana Mazmanishvili, who delivered a splendid account of Mozart's last piano concerto, No. 27 in B-flat, K. 595. Her fingerwork, phrasing, tempos and the nuances she added to them were as good as I've heard for this autumnal work, which recalls earlier Mozart symphonic figurations.

Her piano was, however, a bit soft hammered, giving us a slightly feathery sound. We needed more brilliance, which seemed to hold back even in Mazmanishvili's loudest chords for her Chopin encore, the Barcarolle in F-sharp, Op. 60. The standing ovation following her Chopin showed that the audience, rightly, did not blame her instrument for any failure. (That is only reserved for fussy critics.) This is yet another remarkable young pianist, of the many we've heard over this last season.

ICO music director Kirk Trevor opened with Heitor Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9 for String Orchestra (1945). Consisting of a very short prelude and a somewhat longer fugue, the piece showed the ICO strings at their best, bringing out Villa-Lobos' melding of Brazilian folk sources with Bach's musical structures.

Trevor closed his program with Copland's familiar Appalachian Spring (1944), a reorchestrated abridgment of a ballet score written for Martha Graham's dance company. Cast in nine parts, it closes with "Simple Gifts," a Shaker tune going back at least to the 19th century. With this work, Copland made the tune famous. And Trevor closed this season with an exemplary performance. May 18; Schrott Center for the Arts

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