CADENZA: The Sight and Sound of Vallotton and Honegger
“Botstein has become the city’s preeminent music educator, a music historian to the people; each concert is a veritable course in music appreciation. TŌN’s valuable Sight & Sound series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art enhances the audience’s cultural cachet, providing context for both music and visual art.
The first movement of [Honegger’s Symphony No. 1] grabs the listener by the ear and doesn’t let go. Its rhythmically charged, angular lines recall Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. TŌN’s virtuosic string section played with vibrant electricity, clarity, and definition. The brass section is world class. As the fast-paced music builds in emphasis, the horns contribute stunning section playing. Muted trumpet solos soar, or comment wryly. The celli, basses, and percussion maintain the integrity of the motoric pulse, grooving along with daring march. TŌN excels at crystalline intonation in complex, kaleidoscopic harmonies.
The middle movement, Adagio, is the heart of the piece. TŌN’s woodwinds make cohesive drama in slithery, sinuous dialogue. Again, the horns, with their powerful, round tone and unfailing stamina, play with maturity beyond their years. Botstein, subtly balancing dynamics, draws focused imagery from many planes of texture.
The finale, Presto-Andante tranquillo, begins adventurously, the trumpets achieving athletic feats, the trombones interjecting ironically with admirable taste. Each section of the orchestra gets put through its paces, and TŌN’s musicians collaborate skillfully, acing tight harmonies and textures.” – Brian Taylor
Photo by David DeNee