REVIEW: Garrick Ohlsson’s Beethoven makes for a memorable night at ProMusica Columbus

By Sam Jacobson  / For bachtrack

“Despite being based in Columbus, nearly half of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra’s 37 members reside outside of Ohio, a diverse collective of talents that coalesces for routinely innovative programming. Under the baton of David Danzmayr, who has helmed the ensemble since 2013, last weekend’s program engaged a first-rate soloist in Garrick Ohlsson for a Beethoven centerpiece, flanked by less familiar scores which proved to be rewarding discoveries.

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, who later settled in Akron, Ohio, Julia Perry was a major talent. Her studies took her to Tanglewood, Juilliard and Paris where she was a student of Nadia Boulanger, developing an uncompromisingly modernist voice. Though her body of work has long fallen into obscurity, there seems to be at least the beginning of an overdue resurgence of interest (she featured prominently on a recent New York Philharmonic program). A Short Piece for Small Orchestra dates from 1952, and its strident beginnings sounded somewhat in the manner of Prokofiev. The full ensemble was utilized initially, later distilled to soloists passing around germs of thematic ideas. Despite the two diminutives in the title, it’s a complex, bracing score, given a convincing reading that culminated in a punchy ending.”

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