‘Impressions’ concert continues through Feb. 4 at Van Wezel

Andrew von Oeyen
Sarasota Herald Tribune

In a concert long on beauty with no shortage of technical brilliance, Anu Tali and the Sarasota Orchestra continue to challenge every other orchestra in the southeastern United States for bragging rights. Move over Atlanta, Sarasota is coming on fast.

On many levels this is no overstatement when we consider the consistency of polish this orchestra has displayed over the past season or two. With a program of lush splendor from composers Maurice Ravel, Fryderyk Chopin, and Claude Debussy, the increasingly seamless shine of the Sarasota strings reveled in the spotlight.

Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infant défunte” presents a straightforward treatment of a melody that hangs in the air in near endless phrases. It is exquisite and even more so in this performance through the artistry of horn soloist Joshua Horne and other winds with supreme lungpower. “Pavane” is an early work by Ravel, and while lovely, shows little evidence of the unique voice he soon developed.

Pianist Andrew von Oeyen took the ensemble to greater heights with Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21. Tali and the orchestra were fitting partners as von Oeyen took the music wherever he saw fit with effortless panache. The music was at one point warm and enveloping and another bright and crystalline. It was magical.
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