Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: ORCHESTRA REVELS IN EUROPEAN KUDOS Series: ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Second in a Series of Reports on the 1993 European Tour

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: ORCHESTRA REVELS IN EUROPEAN KUDOS Series: ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Second in a Series of Reports on the 1993 European Tour

Article excerpt

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra hit the ground running at tempo allegro vivace on Wednesday morning and didn't take a collective breath until Saturday. Then it paused a few beats for a day off here, where on Friday night it had received the most ecstatic reception on its European tour so far.

The orchestra energized the audience in this ancient city on the Rhine with a program that featured Claude Baker's "Shadows: Four Dirge Nocturnes for Orchestra," Beethoven's "Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra" with soloist Rudolf Buchbinder, and a stirring "Rite of Spring" by Stravinsky.

After calling conductor Leonard Slatkin back for three encores, the audience began clapping rhythmically like fans at a ballgame and rose for a cheering standing ovation.

"Unbelievable," said piccolo player Jan Gippo as he left the stage of the ultramodern Philharmonie, which sits in the shadow of Cologne's majestic 13th century cathedral. "They were standing and pulsating."

"What a great reception," said E-flat clarinet player Robert Coleman. "When they clap in unison, that's the ultimate."

The orchestra's first performance on its 3 1/2-week European tour was in Frankfurt on Tuesday. From there it went to Nuremburg and Munich, and flew into Cologne on Friday afternoon.

On Sunday, it is making a quick trip out of Germany, to Vienna for a concert there. On Monday, it's back to Germany for performances in five more cities there before heading to the Netherlands, Belgium and England.

Everywhere the orchestra has gone, audiences have been enthusiastic - and not just for the works of European composers. The American composers are holding their own, getting as much and often more applause than that delivered for works by Beethoven and Berlioz and Strauss.

And because the audiences don't often get them from European orchestras, they beam when the Symphony gives them an encore.

One of the more radiant encores is Leonard Bernstein's "Promenade," with its lilting clarinet solo by George Silfies. Listeners light up with smiles when they hear it, and then they cheer.

They love George Gershwin's "American In Paris," too. …

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