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drawing of horn

Here are extracts from "Guest conductor tames wild beast of Bruckner" - Marc Shulgold's review of the performance in the Rocky Mountain News.

"The nine symphonies of Bruckner can seem like a pack of wild beasts to the uninitiated listener or the unprepared conductor.

"High praise, then, to Colorado Symphony guest conductor Peter Oundjian, who tamed the Symphony No. 4 before an ecstatic Boettcher Hall crowd...."

Shulgold also praised the CSO's "superb playing."

The last time we checked, the review was still available on the Web, but you may have to look for it.


Oundjian Conducts Bruckner 4

We list highlights of the Colorado Symphony season, but we normally don't record our impressions of performances. This performance, however, was extraordinary. Our report of Peter Oundjian conducting the Colorado Symphony Orchestra concert of February 3, 2007, follows.

The evening started out auspiciously with an army of young Bruckner devotees running around Boettcher concert hall. No, wait. They were Red Violin devotees eager to see Anne Akiko Meyers. Our mistake.

Ms. Meyers dispatched Corigliano's The Red Violin: Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra with aplomb, followed it with Massenet's Meditation from Thais, and then there we were, watching the Colorado Symphony warm up for the second half.

Curiously, the army of Red Violin devotees and their parents didn't take flight at the intermission. Apparently, they didn't know anything about the B-Man. ("Bruckner. Be afraid. Be very afraid.")

Maestro Oundjian walked out with a microphone. He chatted with the audience about the crazy B-Man. He told them about the Romantic images of nature in the first movement, about the medieval tryst in the second, about the fantastic hunting scherzo. What was the fourth movement about? Bruckner said, "I forget." "It's too fantastic for words," Oundjian added provocatively. (He must not have read the Bruckner literature, which takes a condescending attitude to the Fourth's finale.) He put down the microphone, the violins sounded their mysterious tremolo, and we were off.

Sixty-five minutes later the audience (including the army of young Red Violin devotees - who to a girl and boy of them had stayed to the end) stood and roared their approval.

The orchestra got the first bow. Oundjian walked off the stage, came back and gave the orchestra the second bow. Oundjian walked off again, came back and gave first horn Michael Thornton a bow. The audience erupted with the biggest ovation we have ever heard it give a musician in the Colorado Symphony. The horn section got the next bow. No surprise there. Bruckner's Fourth is one of the world's great horn symphonies.

All in all, a night to remember. And *was* the fourth movement too fantastic for words? Absolutely.

Oundjian knows his way around a Bruckner symphony. Let's get this guy back to conduct one of the Bad Boys: Bruckner Seven, Eight, or Nine.

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