Review: Fort Worth Symphony “Caminos del Inka”

Posted 8:09am on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra took a journey, metaphorically speaking, over the “Caminos del Inka” on Saturday night. The “Caminos” is music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s project to highlight music of the Americas. There were stops this time in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

There was music, but also a visual element; a large screen was suspended above the orchestra in Bass Hall and images were projected to enhance the musical experience.

For me, by far the most successful of the seven presentations was Osvaldo Golijov’s Mariel, composed in memory of a friend who was killed in a car wreck. Golijov has written, “I attempted to capture that short instant before grief, in which one learns of the sudden death of a friend who was full of life: a single moment frozen forever in one’s memory, and which reverberates through the piece…”

This solemn work is full of beautiful and moving sounds that create a desire to hear it again. The brooding, indistinct forms projected above the stage on Saturday night seemed a fitting accompaniment.

Joining the orchestra in a haunting performance was cellist Jesus Castro-Balbi. This orchestral version of the work, which exists in a version for cello and marimba, was commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Sid R. Bass.

The projections throughout the evening were varied and generally fitting. In one case, the visual element rescued the musical. Diego Luzuriaga’s Responsorio seemed monotonous to me, but there was pleasure to be had in a 2,000-year-old tapestry, which slowly grew, piece by piece, until it filled the screen. The flavor of this ancient work was distinctly early New World, but it almost seemed modern.

There were highlights in the program beyond Mariel. Quite charming was Alomia Robles’ The Condor Passes ( El condor pasa), which spotlighted a haunting melody while Peruvian scenes including craggy mountains and folk dances were projected above the stage. Made you want to go.

Another appealing work was Gabriela Frank’s Illapa for flutes and orchestra. This atmospheric and colorfully orchestrated work is full of mysterious sounds. Jessica Warren-Acosta was the impressive guest flutist.

Also on the program were three dance pieces by Martinez Companon, Danza fantastica by Enrique Soro and Fiesta! by Jimmy Lopez. Overall, a pleasant evening and a large audience to experience it.

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