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Guest conductor Bignamini leads strong Milwaukee Symphony program

11.17.18
Jader Bignamini, Joshua Roman
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Recordings are a fine way to hear classical music, but sitting in a concert hall with a large orchestra playing at full roar, enhanced by a low pipe-organ rumble and brass players positioned in the house is an experience not to be missed.

That experience closed Friday evening's Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance.

The evening's program, led by conductor Jader Bignamini, opened with the Dvorak Concerto in B minor for Cello and Orchestra, featuring cellist Joshua Roman.

Roman used a fascinating palette of dynamics, colors and textures along with tremendous musical momentum and finesse to create an absolutely captivating interpretation of the piece. He answered his applause with a delightful encore of Mark Summer's wildly creative "Julie-O," blending folk, pop and rock sounds.

Bignamini and the orchestra gave a deftly crafted, beautifully executed performance of Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio italien" before closing the program by enveloping the audience in the enormous, thrilling, visceral sounds of Respighi's vivid tone poem "The Pines of Rome."

Conductor and players moved from a sensitive, supportive performance of the Dvorak to compelling, poignant music-making and deft ensemble work in the Tchaikovsky, and a wonderfully evocative performance of Respighi.

Bignamini led the players through a colorful, artfully shaped performance of "Pines of Rome," which was written as a musical depiction of four locations in Rome. He conducted the entire program from memory.

 Read the full review here