Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Symphony Proves Eloquent in Complex Compositions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Symphony Proves Eloquent in Complex Compositions

Article excerpt

BY THE time everyone got seated it was pretty much a full house for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's concert Thursday night at Powell Hall.

The program opened with "Fratres" by Arvo Part in a version for percussion and strings. Some of Part's current popularity might be because his minimalist approach to composition produces complex emotional reactions with relatively simple materials and techniques. In this 10-minute piece a six-bar motif is repeated several times, each time with greater intensity, at a slightly lower pitch level, and with more instruments.

Although the execution of this presented little apparent challenge to the players, its simple eloquence was as affecting as a speech by Abraham Lincoln.

Far more challenging and complex was Karel Husa's "Concerto for Orchestra." Over its 40 minutes of angular rhythms and dense tone clusters, it achieves a nearly perfect coherence without much melody or harmony. Like an architect integrating diverse materials into a single structure, Husa uses a variety of tonal/percussive effects and instrumental textures, carefully developed and shaped into an organic whole. …

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