November 24, 2004

Overture Hall, Madison Symphony, James Trotter are all "Up to Date..."

James Oestreich on last weekend's Symphony & organ performance:

The organ sounded splendid in Mr. Trotter's performance of the Jongen work, though this is not quite so blatant a showpiece as, say, Saint-SaŽns's "Organ" Symphony (which the orchestra played in an earlier, prededication concert). The tonal qualities are rich and varied, and the sonic heft seems well suited to the space.

But it is crucial for a concert organ, as opposed to a church instrument, Mr. Trotter noted in conversation, to be able to blend with a symphony orchestra as well as stand up to it. And the blend here was uncanny, sometimes tricking the ear into confusing reed pipes with woodwind instruments.

But as good as all this news was, the crowning touch for an old Madison hand who arrived hopeful but not optimistic was the condition and quality of the Madison Symphony. At a time of orchestral retrenchment nationwide, this part-time group seems to be flourishing, with an annual surplus of $50,000 to $100,000 on its $2.8 million budget, and an endowment climbing toward $15 million. It added a third concert for 7 of its 9 subscription programs this season, and subscriptions and attendance are strong and rising steeply (partly, no doubt, because of the new hall).

It was indeed, an enjoyable evening. I agree with the writer that Madison is fortunate to have such a wonderful symphony.

Posted by James Zellmer at November 24, 2004 12:00 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Architecture | Culture | Music