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Utah Symphony shines at Mahler time, Currie offers spicy Carter

Published April 23, 2014 11:36 am

Review • Performance whets listeners' appetite for Fischer's upcoming Mahler cycle.
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On Salt Lake City Marathon weekend, the Utah Symphony is playing the musical/emotional equivalent of 26.2 miles, or at least a 5K. Thierry Fischer — who, along with percussion soloist Colin Currie and several orchestra members, will join runners in Saturday's 5K — led the orchestra in a riveting performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 5. As he did when conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 4 a couple of years ago, Fischer had the crowd hanging on every note. His upcoming Mahler cycle promises to be monumental.

Travis Peterson's glorious delivery of the opening trumpet fanfare led into a performance of remarkable focus and intensity. Though Fischer singled out Peterson and horn principal Bruce Gifford for their magnificence when it came time for solo bows, this was a fine team effort. Others deserving mention included James Hall, for his characterful oboe solos, and George Brown, who played the timpani with exquisite finesse.

The orchestra set the stage for the Mahler work with a series of musical sprints. Currie showed off his customary artistry in two works by Elliott Carter: "Figment V" for solo marimba and "Two Controversies and a Conversation," a fascinating exchange with the orchestra and pianist Jason Hardink.

Also on the program were "Chaos" from Haydn's "The Creation" and the peppiest performance of Pachelbel's Canon in D most concertgoers will ever hear. —

Utah Symphony

Music of Carter, Haydn, Pachelbel and Mahler.

With • Conductor Thierry Fischer, percussionist Colin Currie and pianist Jason Hardink

Where • Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City

When • Reviewed Friday, April 18; repeats Saturday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Running time • 2 hours, including intermission

Tickets • $23 to $60 at http://www.utahsymphony.org

Vivace • The orchestra's social networking group is celebrating its ninth birthday with a party in Abravanel Hall's First Tier Room after Saturday's performance. Mingle with Currie, Fischer and other musicians and snack on appetizers from Grand America. Tickets are $34 ($25 if you're under 30); call 801-533-NOTE (6683) and mention Vivace or use the online code vivace. Questions: cyoung@usuo.org.

Also • $5 discount available for Salt Lake Marathon participants; use online code dayof5s

Learn more • Fischer and Currie will chat about the music with Utah Symphony VP Toby Tolokan onstage at 7 p.m.