Live Music: Cutler Toy Fantasy for Two Harps

Jeffrey Kahane returns to challenge us with some more modern music. The program starts with Haydn Symphony No. 98, which I image was supposed to draw the crowd, but didn’t. Jeffrey looks a little shocked when he sees the empty house. He conducts a tight performance anyway. The Toy Fantasy can’t be an easy piece to put together. Cutler describes the piece himself beforehand as an attempt to push the envelope of harp music a bit by using two harps, but keep it “accessible”. I felt the two objectives battling a bit – it seemed at times to jostle back and forth between them. Still, I’m glad Jeffrey challenges us. He continues to do so after the information with full choral piece by Giya Kancheli called Styx. It also feels a bit disjointed to me, with sudden climaxes and dropoffs. Some of it positively creepy – I like those parts the best. When was the last time a trip to the symphony made your skin crawl? As always, I feel richer for the experience.

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