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jeffAudio - The Music of Jeff Hentschel - Concert Review: The Russian Greats
Concert Review: The Russian Greats 
Disclaimer: I perform with Philharmonia, so the review may be biased. Tonight, Philharmonia, comprised mostly of non-music majors put on a show dubbed "The Russian Greats." While Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev are clearly great, where does Bordin fit in? To start off the program, guest conductor Christina Chen conducted the simple and repetative In the Steppes of Central Asia by Borodin. The piece was performed well, which is good considering there were only two main melodies to get down. However, perhaps the lighter piece was chosen as a contrast to the masterpieces that followed.

Gared Crawford took the stage for the second piece, Prokofiev's Violin Concerto. His amazing performance surely dazzled the audience with excellent runs and wonderful style. During the slower parts, the tone he produced was extremely rich in color. The orchestra stayed with him most of the time, although it could have been better.

After intermission, Dr. Robert Hasty conducted Tchaikovsky's Symphony 2 "Little Russian." I'm not quite sure what happened in the first movement, but the overall togetherness was lacking. Fortunately, the orchestra seemed to get back on track by the end and most of the rest of the performance was excellent. There was one part where the horns seemed to be out of tune with each other, which was too bad bad since they were rather exposed. The presto finale was performed amazingly well and definitely excited the audience who applauded loudly and gave a standing ovation.

As this was the last concert of the season, the repetoire performed was the best of all concerts, and perhaps the performance was one of the best. After intermession, Dr. Hasty read the names of the seniors and bid them farewell. This was a great concert to end the season with.
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Concert Review: NU Performs Adams, Shostakovich 
Tonight's concert began with the performance of Franz Liszt's (1811-1886) The Black Gondola as orchestrated by John Adams (1947-). While perhaps the piece was not the best in the concert, it was performed very well. Maestro Yampolsky orchestrated what could have been seen as foreshadowing to Richard Wagner's death. Liszt had written the piece after seeing Wagner's ill condition, and shortly before he died. One could clearly see the "black gondola" swimming cleanly through water in an ominous surrounding taking the noted composer to rest.

Second on the program was Shostakovich's fantastical Violin Concerto performed with incredible dexterity by Gerardo Ribeiro. While his fingers seemed to fly across the strings in the later movement, perhaps it was masking the underlying lack of true emotion and movement that seemed slightly exposed in the slower movements. The orchestra, however, had a decided advantage with their conductor being one of the few to have heard the concerto before it was released. Yampolsky's father was a friend of Oistrakh, for whom the piece was dedicated, and as a young child, he was privy to the piece as it was constructed. The piece was undoubtedly performed as Shostakovich created it to be, and deserved the ovation that followed.

Perhaps the earlier criticism was simply because of the extraordinary performance of John Adams' Harmonium which burst of emotion and captured the required nuances to perfect the certain level of minimalism in the composition. For this piece, NUSO was joined by the symphonic choir. The first part of the piece is based on Negative Love by John Donne. The work here can clearly be seen as minimalist, yet is different from other works. Adams does not dwell too long on the same repetition, constantly have subtle changes which are exacted upon by the orchestra. The overall picture creates a collage of tones that have a certain mesmerising effect on the listener. The transition between the second and third movements really shows the talent of the orchestra. As the second part, Because I Could Not Stop For Death goes into Wild Nights both by Emily Dickenson, you can feel the dark death slowly coming to life. Throughout the finale, there was vivid imagery as the orchestra and choir united to become one. At the end, you left feeling very satisfied from an excellent performance.
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Server Up 
Server is back up! Spring break in Spain was great. I plan to work on making the site easier to be found by search engines.
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Server Downtime 
Unfortunately, from 03-18-06 to 03-28-06 the server will be down. I will be in Spain for spring break, and everything needs to be turned off. To listen to or download my music, you can visit my iCompositions site during that time.
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New Release + Bonus Materials 
My latest piece Downtown Sedna is now available for download. I have also added some music related presentations and papers I have done.
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