Saturday, June 10, 2023

Orchestra Hall, Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

The concert opened with Wynton Marsalis’s Herald, Holler and Hallelujah!, for brass and percussion, short, strident and very well played. Then María Dueñas gave Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole with athletically-bowed flamboyance and musical identification as well as subtlety. She relished the writing’s high-wire act, which she brought poise to, and sultriness elsewhere, with an attractive flexibility (tempos generally kept on the move) as well as rich tone and spot-on intonation, and the accompaniment was exacting and sympathetic. (All five movements were played, not always the case in days of yore; and I am unable to identify Dueñas’s encore beyond it might have been a Paganini Caprice.) The concert closed, as did the DSO’s current season, with Also sprach Zarathustra, Richard Strauss’s Nietzsche-inspired symphonic poem, its opening measures now indelibly associated with Kubrick’s 2001. Jader Bignamini and the DSO steeped the ‘Sunrise’ impressively, there was some eloquent string-playing immediately afterwards and then much that was thrilling and vividly characterised, as well as probing, in this gloriously organic performance distinguished by well-balanced and -detailed tuttis, fine solos, not least from concertmaster Robyn Bollinger, and a wide dynamic range, ending with the indeterminate highs and lows of the concluding no-man’s-land measures. Finally, wishing retiree Karl Pituch (principal horn, twenty-three years) all the best.