This weekend’s Utah Symphony concerts focus on the human voice, with a program pairing less-well-known works of Brahms and Mozart. Markus Stenz was the dynamic guest conductor.
The Utah Symphony Chorus made its first appearance of the season, joined by the University of Utah Chamber Choir and scrupulously prepared by Barlow Bradford, in the evening’s major work, Mozart’s great C Minor Mass. They sang this difficult music with aplomb, paying particular attention to dynamics. Celena Shafer, leading a nicely matched quartet of soloists, sang the “Et incarnatus est” section with such warmth and beauty, the other musicians had to take a moment before proceeding with the “Sanctus.”
The orchestra musicians applauded their singing colleagues and Bradford enthusiastically, but gave the resounding foot-stamp of approval to the woodwind players for their sensitive performance.
Opening the concert, bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi sang Brahms’ Four Serious Songs with consummate expression. Four orchestral preludes and a coda by contemporary German composer Detlev Glanert provided a gorgeous frame that amplified the profound message of these songs. As in the Mozart, the Utah Symphony woodwind players distinguished themselves with a performance of remarkable delicacy. The audience responded with an even better endorsement than the standing ovation: 5 seconds of silence before breaking into applause.
Music of Wolfgang Mozart, Johannes Brahms and Detlev Glanert
With • Conductor Markus Stenz, the Utah Symphony Chorus, bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi, sopranos Celena Shafer and Sarah Shafer (no relation), and tenor Thomas Cooley
When • Reviewed Friday, Nov. 10; repeats Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m.
Where • Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Running time • Just under 2 hours, including intermission
Tickets • $20-$71; utahsymphony.org