Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Hilbert Circle Theatre, March 17, Steve Hackman, conductor & host.
Percussion soloist Colin Currie was the headliner, and deservedly so with a virtuoso performance of British composer Dave Maric’s first and final movements of Trilogy for solo live and sample percussion.
With Currie playing against and with an acoustic track, the first feel was funky pulsating dynamism taking you to a range of percussive places you hadn't known existed. The virile excitement of the final movement recalled hearing Steve Reich for the first time. Currie partnered expressively with the ISO for the poetic second movement from Incantations, an other-worldly concerto by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, who Sibelius named his protégé.
Equally exciting was the premiere ISO appearance by the Indianapolis-based Icarus Ensemble: Jon Crabiel, percussion; Dean Franke, violin; Peter Hansen, bass; Mark Ortwein, electric bass, soprano sax and bass clarinet; and Gary Walters, piano. We’ve heard the sextet on their own at the Jazz Kitchen and other local venues, so this coupling with the ISO created a delightful dimension with original compositions and arrangements.
Ortwein’s “Pepperoni Grande con Queso Mas” served up a zestful interplay and Hansen’s “Merry Go Round” showcased individuality and section sparkle for a take on the regenerating main theme. Walters’ arrangements for Icarus with ISO brought expanded emotional depth to Percy Grainger’s “Danny Boy” and lilting turns to Ronan Hardiman’s music from “The Lord of the Dance.” ISO players showcased Grainger’s “Molly on the Shore” and Sibelius’ Finlandia, Op.26.