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Published: 1/18/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

REVIEW

Toledo Symphony brings audience to its feet with parade of waltzes

BY SALLY VALLONGO
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

The Toledo Symphony’s main maestro, Stefan Sanderling, wanted to wish the city a happy New Year Friday night so he did it in the best way possible — with lilting, surging, bouncing music.

The program, Waltzing Through Vienna, had the smallish but very enthusiastic audience on its feet multiple times, cheering for guest soloist Jennifer Frautschi, the violinist, and then for Sanderling and the lively symphony players.

Music by Suppe, Sarasate, Offenbach, Lehar, and, of course, Strauss, sparkled brighter than the snowflakes swirling outside.

Indeed, the Peristyle became a golden bubble of irresistible rhythm and melody; so much melody, in fact, that it offered a welcome counterpart to the deep freeze knocking at the doors just outside.

Modeled after the beloved New Year’s Day concert by the Vienna Philharmonic, Sanderling’s program tapped composers from France, Germany, Spain, and Hungary.

But no matter the nationality, the currency was dance rhythms: the waltz, of course, but also the two-step, the polka, and even the can-can.

And such a welter of melodies!

From the opener, Suppe’s “Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna” (principal cellist Martha Reikow’s big solo set the mood with elan) to the final masterpiece, Strauss’s “By the Beautiful Blue Danube,” each piece rippled cavalcades of melodies.

The level of performance was high, with but a few glitches near the opener, and spirited. Even the musicians seemed to share the rapture, rocking and tapping as they played.

Other principals who contributed major solos were clarinetist Georg Klaas, oboist Kimberly Loch, concertmaster Kirk Toth, and harpist Nancy Lendrim.

And how lovely to encounter Frautschi again, in a less formal presentation. Instead of the big concerto typically performed by a guest artist, there were two distinct opportunities to experience her artistry.

First was Pablo de Sarasate’s fiery and challenging “Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs),” a tour de force of lightning runs, delicate overtones, and sobbing melodies into which Frautschi poured what seemed to be every ounce of energy. Listening was akin to watching a spider weave a complicated silvery web at warp speed.

Yet the guest clearly had enough sizzle left to dazzle in Saint-Saens’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” during the second part of the program.

And, when all the waltzes had been played out, well, there was nothing left to do but offer the cheering audience the traditional closer, Strauss’ “Radetzky March.”

The concert will repeat at 8 p.m. today in the Peristyle. Tickets are $22-55 at toledosymphony.com or 419-246-8000.

Contact Sally Vallongo at: svallongo@theblade.com



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