At today's 1100 Coffee concert, Gilbert Varga and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra gave a performance of Bela Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin Suite that was at once bold and articulate. ISO plays 20th century works such as 'Mandarin' as if to-the-manor-born. [2 seasons ago ISO gave a stellar performance of the Rachmaninov "Symphonic Dances".] The orchestra and Varga were less successful in accompanying Jonathan Biss in the Beethoven Concerto ? 2 for piano and orchestra. Biss, an exceptional pianist, gave a nuanced performance, combining 'period' sensitivity with the knowledge that he had a modern grand piano at his disposal. Varga elicited from ISO a rather tubby, bass-heavy sound that often seemed to be odds with the pianist's tempi. The Mozart overture (from The Magic Flute) that opened the program was acceptable.
Posted on 13 Oct 2011, 9:11 PM