Conrad Tao Preforms Ravel's Piano Concerto
The past and the present collide in a rousing Springtime program presented by the Colorado Symphony and its fearless music director Brett Mitchell, who demonstrates yet again his penchant for creating engaging and thoughtfully created line-ups with stellar special guest soloists. Mitchell and his ensemble welcomes child prodigy turned adult virtuoso Conrad Tao to the stage for a stunning turn in Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major, a jazz-tinged and often ebullient showcase of the composer's masterful ear for melody.
The billing also includes boundary-pushing composer artist Missy Mazzoli's Sinfonia for Orbiting Spheres, a piece inspired by the shape of the solar system. Its cinematic scope allows space for a few surprising elements like the climactic lion's roar in its final bars, as well as bass pizzicati and accented chords. The evening comes to a stirring close with Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, a dreamlike, almost psychedelic flight of orchestral arranging that narrates the composer's romantic pursuit of his eventual wife Harriet Smithson, a Shakespearean actress, from poignant opium-induced unrequited love and despair to effervescent sonic joy.