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ASO/Peter Bay: Rousing Argentinian “Rodeo” Outshines Urioste’s Beautiful but Bland

October 12, 2016

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis; Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Kodály: Marosszék Dances; Ginastera: Four Dances from Estancia Op. 8a; Elena Urioste, violin; Austin Symphony Orchestra/Peter Bay, conductor; Long Center, Austin, TX.

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis; Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Kodály: Marosszék Dances; Ginastera: Four Dances from Estancia Op. 8a; Elena Urioste, violin; Austin Symphony Orchestra/Peter Bay, conductor; Long Center, Austin, TX.

Austin’s SXSW (South by Southwest), an annual March extravaganza of music and technology, attracts interest from all over the world. Equally popular is the ACL Music Festival – a spinoff from the television series, Austin City Limits – which draws huge crowds to Zilker Park, the attractive area by Lady Bird Lake near downtown.

This year’s ACL got underway at the same time the Austin Symphony (ASO) was presenting its weekend concerts at the Long Center, only a few miles away from Zilker Park. As you can imagine, chaos ensued and hundreds of ASO patrons were less than pleased as they struggled to find parking spots at or near Long Center. But this is Austin, often called “the music capital of the world.” More may not always be better, but it sure makes for a lively urban lifestyle.

The unusually interesting combination of pieces that music director Peter Bay put together for this evening’s concert began with quasi-religious music that took us back to Sixteenth Century choral music by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), and concluded with fortissimo repetitive pounding in Alberto Ginastera’s Estancia that, for both volume and excitement, might have rivalled what ACL fans were hearing in Zilker Park.

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