Milwaukee Symphony's all-American program brings listeners to their feet

Teddy Abrams
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Music by four brilliant American composers brought an Uihlein Hall audience to its feet in a cheering ovation Saturday evening.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's dignified handling of Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3 and its stand-up-straight treatment of his iconic "Fanfare for the Common Man" that ends the piece brought down the house.

Guest conductor Teddy Abrams and the orchestra closed the evening with a clean, tightly executed performance of the symphony that put Copland the musical architect in the spotlight.

Abrams and the ensemble brought great musical depth, clarity and power to the entire piece, using warm string sounds, articulate woodwind conversations, ringing brass playing and percussion precision and character to create something that was at once grand and somehow homespun.

They brought simplicity, gravitas and power to the final movement's treatment of Copland's iconic "Fanfare for the Man," bringing the audience to its feet.

The program opened with the eight brief movements of Leonard Bernstein's Divertimento for Orchestra, which crossed the footlight as something between fond caricatures and entertaining vignettes.

Guest conductor Abrams put Bernstein the consummate melodist in the spotlight, capturing his freewheeling style and his delight in borrowing forms and ideas from other idioms, as well as his heart-on-the-sleeve expressiveness 

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