Kansas City – Arriving at the Kauffman Centre this evening, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the choice of repertoire by this evening’s entertainment. Israel’s Haifa Symphony Orchestra as a part of the Harriman-Jewell Series performed a programme of Weber, Rachmaninov, and Tchaikovsky, which did a good job at exciting, and thrilling the audience with each passing note. Sadly, that audience was only at about half capacity, in large part due to the inclement weather in the form of snow that is currently falling upon a Kansas City unhappy at its presence.
Under the direction of Polish Maestro Boguslaw Dawidow, the orchestra made a resounding and fantastic proclamation of presence with their performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s Overture to Euryanthe. The music, which was quite striking of the period and art of its day, resounded about the hall, thrilling everyone who was there to listen.
The Weber was very well an overture for the brass and percussion, setting the stage for their spectacular performances in the second piece, Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18. The orchestra was joined by excellent Israeli pianist Roman Rabinovich, whose talents at the piano are absolutely fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed Rabinovich’s performance. His encores were equally thrilling, the former of which exhibited his prowess and the power of the music itself, which ended with the piano being forced back at the emotion of the piece itself as Rabinovich jumped up to take his closing bow. His performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Angel of Music was quite charming, calling forth reminiscence of sweet memories.
The second half was made of Tchaikovsky’s powerful Symphony No. 4, which began thrillingly, continued melodically and joyously in the second movement, danced through the third, and concluded with a bang in the fourth movement. Dawidow’s prowess as a conductor was quite well exhibited in this performance, in which his control and leadership of the orchestra was unlimited and omnipotent, like the music he conducted.
I was equally happily surprised by the two orchestral encores, the Theme from Schindler’s List and Sousa’s always happy Stars and Stripes Forever. The concert seemed themed at a mix of, “Well, we have tickets, might as well go,”, “They’re from Israel!”, and “Let’s enjoy the music.” After all, the latest reports from the motherland of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky have not been promising for peace. God willing, things will improve there.
In totality, I fully enjoyed tonight’s concert by the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and I look forward to hearing them again in the future. If any members of the orchestra do read this review, I would just like to wish them good luck and safe travels out of Kansas City in the next few days.