New Sirota Work at Zankel Hall
There was a time, not too long ago, when musical "sophisticates," especially in academia, would sneer contemptuously at certain music, most especially works from the late 19th century that had attained widespread popularity. Mercifully, those times are over and we may now admit our pleasure at hearing music from any period or in any style.
The Norwegian Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) originally composed his five-movement From Holberg's Time ("Holberg Suite") for piano but then arranged it for string orchestra. It was given a conductorless performance at Carnegie's Zankel Hall by the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Sinfonia, along with members of the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Following the intermission was the orchestral suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Richard Strauss with concertmaster Glenn Dicterow.
The concert began with a world premiere. Entitled A Rush of Wings by Robert Sirota (who is also President of the Manhattan School of Music), the work was described as a musical portrayal of "the wings of the wind," as cited in several passages from Psalms. New York Times critic Steve Smith wrote: "Even without that, Mr. Sirota's goal would surely have been evident in the energetic swoops and airy plummets of his seven-minute piece, fashioned with the clean, angular melodies, tart harmonies, lively syncopations and punchy accents of American Neo-Classicism. Fidgeting strings conveyed a nervy energy under sustained woodwind and brass tones, with glockenspiel, vibraphone and cymbals providing a shimmering patina. As if buffeted by a breeze, the music frequently changed course without losing momentum. An excellent curtain raiser, the music also sounded useful in the best sense: you could imagine it being fitted to a wind symphony or marching band equally well."
Both the Sirota and the Strauss were excellently conducted by Kenneth Kiesler.
Information about the works of Robert Sirota available from Music Associates of America.