Concert Review: Looking to What Comes Next with Kelly Hall-Tompkins and Symphony Tacoma
Symphony Tacoma, led by conductor Sarah Ioannides, gave a dazzling performance of their Classics II concert, titled American Fusion.
…the concert which consisted of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture, the recently composed Violin Concerto by Wynton Marsalis, and culminated in Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3. For the Violin Concerto Symphony Tacoma was joined by Kelly Hall-Tompkins as the solo violinist. The night was filled with varied themes infused with the feeling of Americana; the thrill and action of Bernstein, the harmony of roots and discovery in Marsalis, and the open and hopeful spaces of Copland.
The evening began with the heroic humor of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture, which for all its fun is a deceptively difficult work that can easily descend into sluggish murk due to its demand for alacrity and precision. Symphony Tacoma propelled the energy forward, displaying grand vistas and subtle tableaus, dexterous winds and powerhouse brass and sweeping strings, unrelenting in momentum. Voltaire’s adventure is recalled in unstoppable movement as the overture came to its explosive conclusion, creating all the space needed for the arrival of Marsalis’ Violin Concerto.
The featured soloist for the evening was the violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, whose take on the Concerto was full of character, humor, brazenness and sentimentality. She was an incredible communicator, expressing musical lines with an honesty and clarity that couldn’t help but be responded to in both the audience and the orchestra, an essential component in a work like the Violin Concerto with its musical conversation between sections, lines and colors. Kelly and Symphony Tacoma navigated this complex interplay while making it look natural and feel spontaneous, an impressive and difficult feat! The result was a performance of genuine personality that invites all to the conversation and to experience the joys of that conversation together.