The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off their Sunday concert performances and a musically filled October on October 1 with the first of a two part series celebrating American Masters.
After classical conductor Joann Faletta led the Orchestra in the John Adams composition “Short Ride in a Fast Machine”, award winning pianist and composer Charlie Albright took the stage to join the BPO in a performance of the Duke Ellington composition “New World A-Comin’” and the George Gershwin piece “Rhapsody in Blue”.
While technically proficient, Albright’s performance was also filled with passion and expressiveness that brought the music to life. Whether his fingers were flying over the keys or quietly playing a passage, Albright drew the audience in with his obvious joy for what he was playing. Albright’s performance was met with raucous applause, a standing ovation, and shouts of encore. He accommodated the request with a performance of one of his favourite pieces – the Turkish March” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
After the intermission when staff members removed the piano and audience members checked their phones for football scores – the local Buffalo Bills were leading in the game against the Atlanta Falcons -the BPO returned to the stage for a performance of the “Grand Canyon Suite” by Ferde Grofe complete with a wind machine for the storm filled Cloudburst fifth movement. The western themed composition in five movements brought forth images of clip clopping animals and winds across the plains, but the music was also familiar as soundtrack clips from numerous Hollywood westerns.
For classical music fans it was an enjoyable afternoon of music celebrating true American music. And for the football fans it was even more joyous wit the Bills winning the game.
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